There are moments in life where I am so absolutely, giddily ecstatic that I can't help but run around with a huge silly grin on my face. For instance: I am working on my paper about de Tocqueville and Andrew Jackson, about the spirit of democracy as opposed to, shall we say, responsible republicanism, and I think something snapped inside. But in a good way! I mean, there's the Western Heritage Reader lying in front of me, there's the American Heritage Reader next to it, and everything Russell Kirk wrote about America being the culmination of Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, and London bowled me over. I had just reread the passages from Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Politics, and then immersed myself in de Tocqueville. The more I read him, the cooler he gets. And now I'm seeing all sorts of parallels between republicanism and Catholicism and democracy and Protestantism. So before I burst a blood vessel or started dancing around the room, I grabbed the music I had wisely stashed in my backpack and took off running to Howard. I burst out the doors of Kendall and almost immediately started laughing, full of what I think Dr. Birzer calls the "fire that animates". It was cold and clear, snow was falling in the most picturesque manner possible, and the clouds were "half revealing, half concealing" a full and luminous moon. I think it helped that I was listening to Radiohead; or at least, it leant even more atmosphere to the situation. I spent some energy singing plainsong and slamming out Chopin Nocturnes, and then danced back up the hill. (Literally, I kid you not) This is the best I can do to explain it all. I once heard that the Japanese had no way to say "I love you." I don't know what they said instead, but "I love you" didn't enter their language until after considerable contact with Westerners. Since coming to Hillsdale, I feel like I'm learning more and more about what makes this country what it is, and de Tocqueville, the Federalist Papers, the Declaration of Independence, coupled with everything we covered in Western Hertiage, provided a new rush of understanding. I have always been one to feel deeply and am intensely emotional; but finding the words to express those feelings can be a challenge. Hillsdale is supplying the vocabulary. It is as if after years of stretching out my arms to America with shining arms and a full heart I have learned how to say "I love you." Now I have a paper to write.
From Catherine_Creagan - 11.3.09