KANE: Everywhere we turn



Jonas Kane

As you write the last words on the last test you will take this year, a certain feeling of satisfaction rises, and the niceness of finitude sprinkles over you like a light spring rain. Maybe you aren’t quite positive how you did, but at the very least, you know it’s complete and summer is upon you.

For seniors, this probably evokes a feeling of uncertainty about where you are going in life, but for the rest of us, it simply leaves a short lull in which we will fill our time with vacations, internships, jobs or more classes.

The end of the school year is one of those things we can be certain of in life. Other things we can be certain of include: taxes, death, war, protest, sex, strife, Lindsay Lohan, TV, Paris Hilton, TV, George Bush’s term ending in 2009, a new “Saw” movie, a horrible band at NovaFest, the groundhog coming out of his hole and either seeing or not seeing his shadow as part of a quaint and undeniably endearing Pennsylvania tradition (unless of course you’re Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day”).

In reality, though, most aspects of life lack certainty. And this leaves us with choices about how we approach life’s open-endedness.

We make decisions throughout life, and, though there are some criteria – guides and Bibles and philosophies, of course – in the end, it’s up to us to decide if our individual decisions are right or wrong or even marginally close to what we should be doing.

So we have choices. And our choices aren’t clear or set, but sometimes they produce happiness – we find a person to love, we find a subject that makes us passionate for life, we find our faith renewed, we simply stop to enjoy the presence of a delightful oak tree beside Alumni Hall.

Sometimes they produce grief – we find that our actions may have irrevocably damaged a friendship, we’re unhappy with the path we’ve chosen, we feel unease with our every action, we try to make a difference and find only roadblocks and dead ends everywhere we turn.

Writing, then, can seem relatively easy compared to the rest of life. When you write, you control what happens, and, generally speaking, you have some idea where you want your words to take you – you have a final destination.

In the classic “Annie Hall,” Woody Allen says, “You’re always trying to get things to come out perfect in art because it’s real difficult in life.”

In art – be it writing, music, painting, dancing, etc. – you might not succeed, but you at least have some idea of what success is. You at least have some idea of where you hope to end or what you want to say, even if finding the words is unbelievably challenging.

Finding where you need to go in life can be more difficult. You just know you need to get there. And you’re always running to get there, and you’re always running late.

So you dash down the stairs. To save time, you leap the last three steps. You have to catch the train. You have to hurry. The clock ticks, louder and louder.

You slam open the door, and you sprint outside and – Bam!

A football crashes into the side of your head, and your head snaps back, and suddenly you’re falling.

You’re falling to the ground woozy and somewhat confused and, as you crash to the pavement, though your vision isn’t completely clear, you have this fleeting glimpse of the sun, just as you begin to fade into unconsciousness.

It illuminates the beauty of the trees in shades of red and green and yellow and, from somewhere off in the distance, you swear you can hear the softly muted melody of a songbird over the piercing whistle of a train approaching ever so rapidly and …


Jonas Kane is a sophomore English major from Harrisburg, Pa. He can be reached at [email protected]