Friday, December 27, 2019

Not Chinese Calendar, but this Year, 2020, is self-declared The Year of the Cat.

I think the upcoming year, 2020, will be the year of the Cat.  Think of it, nine lives in one year. How are you going to live them ? I am hoping for a year full of surprises.  The unexpected joys of being present. This will be the year I let go of things that hold me back.  I will say good bye to things I have known (good and not so good) for a long time, and I think it will be the best decision I have ever made.

It always good to get new year plans ready in the the week before New Year's Day. This week has been luxurious and slow moving, and I have had time to write without interruption, which feels very serious and determined, but I hope as the days move on in the break, I will find another rhythm, something that is a bit less serious, yet still mine. Hopefully, I will be able to carry this through the Spring semester.  Again, six courses. But, at the end of this semester, the Earth will be green and ready to encourage us to take off our sensible shoes.  I will be listening. I know I am in a position to make each day significant in big and small ways, and like a cat I will see what I will see. I will nap, purr, hiss, mess around, ignore, annoy, hide all the day long.  It will be quite a year.  Hope it is for you, too.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

What Do I Know? What Do I Know?

What Do I Know?  Another semester of teaching, listening, thinking, considering has ended.  At 1:45 p.m. yesterday, I  finished the semester's grading for 157 students. Two colleges, six courses, countless portfolios and final exams and papers; not to mention the administrative work involved in keeping an Arts program alive and well.

I am grateful that I was able to do this work without falling behind. I stayed aware of every student, which can be challenging because some of them think they have a cloaking device and can be hidden in plain view.  There were moments of brilliance, and moments of surprise, and moments of  boredom.  It's what we teachers expect in our work.  It's what keeps me coming back.

Once again, after having family gather at our farm for Thanksgiving, I gleaned a cold and cough that has lasted for 3 weeks now.  My sad nose has had it.  It's going to go on strike. I did sleep well last night, for the first time in several weeks.  I sleep for a couple hours, then wake and work  in the early morning darkness.  You would think I would give up this ritual for more normal hours.

Maybe my spirit guide is an owl. I do love owls, especially Snowy and Long-eared Owls.  I hear them at night calling to each other.  In January, they will find their mates and set up their nests. In the thick of winter, their fledglings are born.  Now that I am "free' for the rest of 2019, I hope to spend my time wisely.  I want to take long walks, and see a few new movies, and meet up with friends that  I haven't seen in weeks. I want to write every day, without interruption.  I found my creative life (august-now) was caught in a vice grip. I literally had to filch time to do some of my own work.  Teaching is such a battery-draining enterprise.

For a teacher,the energy is flowing out.  For a writer, the energy has to flow in.  The creative process  demands no distractions or interruptions, and all I had this semester was exactly that-- interruptions with a capital I.

 Now, here I am, with weeks of free days on the calendar. Time to recharge and see what inspires me.

Happy holidays to all.

Artwork: Elizabeth King Durand May, 2019