This is the beginning of second semester. I will miss the art education majors who were our teachers for the Saturday Art program. But for the next three or four months, I will have my Saturdays free.
Last night, my voice was hoarse and I couldn’t wait to get home. The last emails were answered. The drive through the early dark and rain felt twice as long. After a long sleep, came the gift of Saturday. I spent most of this morning writing an email, proofing an essay, and applying for a residency. Our cat is asleep on the kitchen chair next to me. The weather outside, still miserable and wet. The sump pump chugs on and off regularly. The furnace hums and the metal soffits rattle gently under the floor.
There is a short story waiting for another revision (#30). An essay needs continued work. Two academic articles need to be outlined. I’ll get to them. Everything is waiting.
The rain has finally stopped. While the ditches and low places are still mucky, the ponds finally drying up. Everyone is finishing planting or, if they have livestock, is making hay as fast as they can. Round bales wrapped in netting, or twine, or white plastic shrink-wrap dot the fields.
Most of the month of May, I was driving back and forth to Franklin, Indiana to help take care of my father, who had been diagnosed with cancer. It was a swift descent. And I’m still navigating those layers of memories. The funeral however, on June 24, was a great affirmation of his gifts to us.
I am reading Neil Gaiman this summer. We binged on Good Omens. And I learned the very odd, beguiling book I read years ago and loved, The Graveyard Book, was by him. I like his voice. It is utterly human. The characters own their flawed-ness.
I”m also reading Brene Brown’s Braving the Wilderness. I’m finding it incredibly affirming.
I hope to add to this more often this summer. But right now, some tomato plants are due to be planted before the breeze dies and the mosquitos take over for the evening.
The last week has been filled with preparations for our first Saturday Children’s Art Class (I teach Art Education full time at Ball State). I’ve been grading lesson plans, sending confirmation of registration emails to parents, and simultaneously double-checking and affirming my beginning teachers. Writing was far away.
The Saturday class went fine. The teachers were elated. Everything that said I had done a good job. But driving home, I thought about the essay I’d started four weeks ago, the short story that needed editing. They felt out of reach. Which was a little scary.
When I got home that afternoon, I found this announcement on Facebook.
It was a nudge, a sign, a signal: don’t stop.
Prince, Alan Rickman, and David Bowie all passed away around the winter of 2016. They were close to my own age of sixty and suddenly, I saw mortality as limited, finite. I used this as a motivation to start running again and, despite the work (and it was work), I found an unexpected surprise in the physical joy of it.