Monday, March 21, 2022


Autocorrect just “fixed” the title of this post to “rest” — which might be equally apt. I haven’t posted in a month, despite having a week away from teaching for spring break. It’s been busy. I gave seven talks in the space of just over three weeks, on six different topics. Then I helped four of my five research students get prepared for their presentations at the big national chemistry meeting currently going on in San Diego. (I’m not there, sad to say.) And I started teaching our intensive lab course for junior chem and bio chem majors. Oh — and I’m spearheading the synodal listening process for my parish. Reading this I understand why I am tired!

Last weekend, I picked up Becky Chamber’s beautiful A Psalm for the Wildbuilt to put it away and instead sat down and re-read the ending (spoiler alert!) where an exhausted monk is treated to tea by an oh-so-practical robot. I longed for a bit of not-self care, where someone might sit me down and insist I drink a cup of Evening in Missoula, take a hot bath and sit in the garden under a full moon. Instead I popped another load of laundry in and scrubbed the bathtub.

And then, in the mail a little bit of care arrived, sent by a friend. “For a reset…” said the label on the bottle. Spray some in the air and walk through the mist. I did and was transported back to Shojoshin-in on Mt. Koya in Japan. Dripping cypress, curls of mist, soft moss muffling my steps, and the incredible hot bath. Or alternatively to the hermitage Dex and Mosscap find in A Psalm. Reset indeed. It’s the next best thing to a transporter.

Evening in Missoula tea. Sabbatical Beauty’s mist.