There is still a plethora of tomatoes on the vine, their musky scent and neon yellow pollen clinging to my hands as I pick them. The weather each afternoon is still warm enough to wear shorts, and children are still running barefoot down my block. How is it possible that we have returned to school already?
Yet those same tomatoes are being used as the base for deeply flavored, hearty soups, and those same kids are wearing sweatshirts and jackets, as well as shoes, on their way to school in the mornings. Autumn is tiptoeing into our lives, gently but inexorably reminding us that it is time to let go of our languid, bright summer days and focus once again on the faster paced, softer lit days of fall.
I have found myself resisting the change, reluctant to reconnect and get back into the groove of school.
Some of that resistance had to do with the wonderful experience I had this summer. I spent five weeks at the Lewis & Clark Legal Clinic, focusing on landlord-tenant and family law cases (the clinic also handles bankruptcy and tax cases). At the clinic, you get to work on real cases under the supervision of one of the four professors. While I was there, I spent so much time at the courthouse the security staff started to recognize me. Considering the hundreds of people who go through there on a daily basis, I was very impressed.
Getting to work with actual clients on actual cases was fantastic — and it made me wish, not for the first time, that I could just spend the next two years in an apprenticeship, rather than heading back to class. While I enjoy my professors and love all the interesting things that happen on campus, the clinic experience was amazing for me because it was so practical and so real. I miss being there, and I can’t wait to do it again.
The other reason for my resistance was a less happy one, and I have struggled with what, if anything, to say about it here for a couple of weeks. In the end, I concluded that it would feel dishonest not to mention it. So here it is: a couple of weeks before classes began, one of my classmates died.
The news was a huge shock to me, and I am deeply saddened by the loss, even though we hadn’t spent much time together for a while now. But he was my friend. In my own neglectful way, I loved him. He was a big, bold personality, with a lot of warmth, and I miss him terribly.
I was fortunate to be able to take a bit of time away, afterward: we rented a house and had a lovely stay at the Oregon coast. Though the weather can be dicey at this time of year, we lucked out. It was a gorgeous few days, and we spent most of our time on the beach. Being able to just be with my family, and cherish them, and remember my wonderful friend, the surfer, in a place that was his second home, was wonderful, if bittersweet. I am grateful I had the opportunity.
Our sense of community on the law school campus blows me away. After attending the undergraduate school here at Lewis & Clark (where most students took on an extreme view of “individuality”), I was surprised to see true camaraderie at the law school.
My podmates are the best. You would expect that after spending a vast majority of your day with the same group of people that some animosity may develop. However, in my pod, I don’t see that at all (perhaps we are the exception). All of my podmates are intelligent, kind, friendly, helpful, and fun (ie participating as a group in the Shamrock Run or going out to play trivia). Disliking any of my podmates feels impossible.