Monday, May 16, 2011

Congraduation Ciera

Time is the constant we wrestle with. We try to bend it, stretch it, compress it, conquer it, push it, grab hold of it. But it marches steadily onward, unaware of our actions, subject only to things we cannot see, and forces far more powerful than us. This morning is Ciera's graduation.

After attending four years at Emerson College, she is now graduating with a BFA in Acting. This is an enormous honor, there are only 16 students that made it through the program with her. Last night she wrote thank you cards to her professors, a task that was difficult and somewhat incomplete. How can we express in words the deep feelings and importance our guides and mentors have supplied to us?

It is an impossible task. Each second that I write here I notice the impossibility of my situation. Impossible only because I don't know what is possible. The future is a nebulous inevitability that starts at 10:30 am today when Ciera walks across that stage and begins her new life as an adult—for real this time. Or maybe not. Maybe it is like a birthday. The big ceremony to celebrate something that ultimately feels hollow on a personal level; something with effects that stretch far beyond the brief moment it is acknowledged.

The events are in motion, undeniable and irreversible. Ciera will walk across that stage (and hopefully not trip—this is not slapstick humor, it has happened to her before) take her diploma, shake a hand, and walk off the stage. In fifty feet, less than 20 steps, she will conclude her time here in Boston. As we know, chapters rarely have endings in real life, and few stories exist without extensive epilogues; even as we close the book time pushes us forward, moment by moment, forcing us to start another chapter. It becomes impossible to distinguish one moment as existing without context. When Ciera graduates today, she will have a graduation reception, her room will still need to be packed up, and we won't really leave Boston until Wednesday. To dwell on those 20 steps is to open the book in the wrong place, and find the ending in the middle—inexplicably and artificially placed there by someone other than the author.

But it is a moment that deserves particular attention as well. It is a moment that throws away all the uncertainty of life briefly and compresses the past four years into a single sheet of paper acknowledging the enormous effort it takes to accomplish, and does so with raucous applause and more than a few tears. It is the moment that is mentioned in stories years later, the mark of an era.

As the past fades into half-remembered dreams, this will stand out. And time's steady march will be held in place by the anchor of memory; a collective one shared by every person gathered at that event. A time that cannot be moved, bent, swayed, pushed, or pulled. Today will pass in a blur; and remain permanently and perfectly somehow.

Congraduation Ciera.