Saturday, September 09, 2023

Vampire diaries

On Tuesday morning I had a procedure on my eye which left me as sensitive to light as a vampire and with very blurry vision.  I came home and spent the afternoon like a Victorian lady with the vapors. In a dim room propped on many pillows, eyes closed while someone read to me. It lacked only the cool compress on my forehead and some smocked white lawn dress to be a woodcut right out of a 19th century novel, well that and my intrepid book reader was not the vicar's daughter but my iPhone. 

No email, no desultory browsing the news, no list of household chores to get through, I drifted along to the voice in my ears, letting someone else choose the pace at which the story progressed. All in all it was a tiny retreat, a meditation on surrender and control.

By bedtime I could see well enough to pray Compline, “Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep, that awake we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in His peace.” Two Advil (the local had worn off) and indeed I slept in peace, and rose in gratitude to a less blurred day. 

Monday, September 04, 2023

The season for changes

green caterpillar on a grey wall
It's September, the season has changed from summer to fall (though the temperature feels anything but fall-like today). Classes start at the college tomorrow, and I am thinking about changes. (If you also now have David Bowie's Changes as an earworm, I apologize, or consider it the soundtrack to this blog post.) 

Like the caterpillars, so much changes for me at this point in the year. My schedule changes. Inflexible classes plant themselves in my calendar, meetings sprout like weeds around them. My tasks change, too. I need to find time for office hours and grading and class prep. I will have new students and new colleagues. I am teaching a new class this year and team teaching general chemistry for the first time ever (in this my 40th year of college teaching). My office was renovated over the summer, so that's a change, too. (My door opens on the other side and the light switch has moved. I keep swiping at the wall when I come in. Habits are hard to break.) So many little changes.

office flanked by bookshelves
But I'm also thinking about longer-term changes. What would it be like to retire? A big change that will cascade into many small changes. What's the next big writing project I want to undertake? It feels so odd to be looking at space in my calendar that doesn't have "writing" in it, after all these months of working on the book on tea. There are more changes to come, I expect.

Photo of new office, just like the old office, but with fewer books. (Really.)