Tuesday, May 15, 2012


A break. No weeding, planting, watering – none of it today. I cast a half hearted glance at a dead strawberry plant and shrug. What are you gonna do...

There is a breakfast out on the porch...

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...a poke out to the barn, where Ed cleared out years of debris...


...a trip to town – a lovely bike ride, past fields and meadows...


...and hidden barns...


...for a lunch meeting downtown, and then a return to the farmhouse, for another meeting, a most wonderful one, with three of my graduating students...


We sat for a long while on the porch and reviewed the past years – theirs and mine.

When you’re in the business of teaching (an inflated term, I know), you accept the idea that your role is just that of a temporary assistant in the process of moving someone from point A to point B. Sometimes your role is quite small. They sort of know what needs to be done and if left to their own devices, they’d probably figure it out themselves. (I see this in Ed who never studied law, but knows quite a bit of it just because life forced him to tangle with the judicial process and learning about it was preferable to being pushed and pulled in all directions without a clue as to what was happening.)

And still, we’re there to help them ask the important questions. Or at least what we think are the important questions.

And sometimes we’re there because we just love working with young people – people whose minds are still open to numerous possibilities.

I thought about all this as my trio of students lingered over a glass of juice on the farmhouse porch and clouds tumbled above as if ready for a storm but not a big one, not tonight, not now...


And then I cooked dinner for Ed and myself -- a dinner which was just veggies and eggs and I felt a tiny bit nostalgic because this is the way one feels at the end of something, even if that something is as inconsequential in my scheme of things as the end of another academic year.

He said then – let’s go play tennis.
Tennis? I hadn’t played for a couple of years. Last year, my shoulder froze for some inexplicable reason and I could hardly move it to write on the blackboard, let alone play tennis.
As the sun moved to its final place at the line of the horizon, we volleyed the ball back and forth, me – clumsily, he – with greater skill. I laughed so hard at myself that my eyes filled with tears and then I laughed some more and you may wonder about tears and laughter and the relationship between the two, but I can assure you, it was a fine evening, down to the last missed opportunity to hit back, do a good serve, gloat at a success that was not to be, not in this lifetime anyway.