This is one of those place-holder posts. You know the ones where you really don't have anything to say or are too tired to figure out what it is you want to say, but haven't written anything other than, oh, I don't know, class notes and lectures and letters of reference for days and days and you are feeling the well running dry because you've been neglecting it. Or not.

I don't want to complain, there have been some amazing moments this week. Last night, for example, watching my puppy play on the tennis court with the big dogs, one the burly male Cardigan Corgi who inspired me to adopt her in the first place, the other an older female dog pulling a rope with two tennis balls, one on each end, clearly inviting my puppy to play with her by catching hold of one of the balls. And after that, listening to my son playing in his school band concert in the university concert hall and remembering the first concert four years ago when all that he and his fellow 5th-graders could play was little ditties along the lines of "Hot Cross Buns." Or tonight, walking home with my puppy after the rain, with all of the trees starting to blossom and the sky still dark so that the ground seemed to be glowing and everything growing quiet in the gloaming, as if waiting for the magic to begin.

Those were the good moments. And the bad ones? Well, it's not as if there were any particularly terrible ones, except for walking home Wednesday evening with the temperature down in the upper 30s and me only dressed for the 50s at best, with my hands getting colder and colder and the puppy testing my every thought for when to sit down. But there were some definitely not-so-great ones, like the discussion in class on Wednesday that I simply couldn't get off the ground (feudalism, anyone?) or the fact that my eyes have changed yet again such that I can't always see what I'm trying to read out for the class even with my progressives or the fact that the projector wasn't working properly for the maps that I wanted to show so that they all came out blurry and impossible to read. Nor did it help that I kept confusing which castle it was that I was supposed to be talking about. Not a good day. Not. A. Good. Day.

And yet, not strictly speaking a bad one either. I have my kitchen, after all. And my puppy. And my husband and our son. And my medal. So why don't I feel ecstatically happy? Actually, in a way, I do. There's a sort of hum to my days, puppy-scented and timeless, as if none of the things that I am supposed to be doing for work is actually real, only a flutter on the surface of something deeper. Ah, look, there my puppy is now, stretched out underneath the coffee table, dreaming puppy dreams of turkey franks and the big dogs in the park and the flowers in bloom. It is curiously difficult to take anything terribly seriously with her in the room. Which, alas, doesn't really make up for Wednesday's class or the fact that I just can't seem to get my head properly around either of my classes this term. I know the material, but it just doesn't feel terribly urgent any more, not, at least, the way it did when I was younger and wanted to know everything.

And now? I suppose I still wish that it were possible to know everything, even in my own limited academic field, but I know it's not. Nor is it even possible to know everything at this moment that I have known in my life. I know this when I look at class notes from past years and can't remember what I was talking about when I made them, although clearly it meant something to me then. Does it still count if I have known it if I don't know it now? Oh, and by the by, will this be on the test? What test? Why exactly does it matter if I know, oh, I don't know, what an almonry is or what year Fulda was granted its immunity from episcopal jurisdiction? (And, no, I didn't pick those facts at random; they're things I didn't know in class on Thursday, but wish I had because the students asked. I told them to use their laptops and look them up.)

Really, I'm better off than I was this past summer when I was scraping the bottom of, well, let's call it my academic soul. But. But I'm still not back to who I was before I went on leave and started this blog and discovered not entirely to my surprise that I have some, well, let's call them issues with what it is that I am doing in my work. Is it the blog that has done this to me? Has it simply been too much reflection, too much navel-gazing in public? Or would I be even worse off if I hadn't been exercising my writing here, trying to discover the voice in which I need now to speak? At least the despair seems to have lifted a bit. That's a good thing, right? There were, after all, moments this past year when it wasn't clear that it ever would. I should get a medal simply for surviving those months. Come to think of it, maybe I just did.

My puppy has moved back under the chair so that all I can see now is the bottom of her feet, but I can still smell her rich puppy-scent. I have never smelled a puppy so good. Her scent is like a perfume or maybe a musk. I wonder if Patrick Süskind could put a word to it. Amazingly, she smells good even when she's wet. Is it yeasty? No, that's not quite it. "Nutty" is closer, but still not quite it. It seems to change depending on what she eats, but not quite in the same way as her poop. (Can you say "carnivore"?) I hope that it is not affected when she is spayed. That would be really too bad, but I can't not spay her simply to keep her scent. Or could I? No, I signed a contract promising that I would have her spayed, and besides I do not have the wherewithal to take care of (gasp!) more puppies. Heaven forbid!

Okay, it's 10 o'clock now. Time to take the puppy (oops! she's awake now and going after the cat) out for her final toilet and then to bed. I had hoped that letting myself ramble like this that I'd find something more substantial to say, but it's just not there tonight. Did I mention that the workmen (who are still with us, now rebuilding the bathroom) put up my new fencing target so that I can now do my 300 touches a day at home? Or that I have discovered that blueberries go amazingly well in cream-of-wheat? Or that I have great students this quarter, even if I am being a bit more of a ditz in class than I'd like? As Mother Julian so famously put it, maybe all indeed will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well. It's odd, almost believing that, yes, indeed (as Byron Katie would put it), "everything is exactly as it should be," including the mistakes that I keep making in class.


Popular posts from this blog

Fake News

Abortion Games: The Lady Priest

Bears Abroad! Q&A with Madam Mayo

Confessions of a New World Sugar Eater

Spice Wars Study Guide