Thursday, May 23, 2013

fishing in a river of prospects

It's like someone threw out a line, onto new waters, to see what the catch might be there. New species, new territory. So tempting to stay there, in uncharted waters! The new day starts now! That's what it felt like to consider retirement.

But of course, I had to allow myself to be reeled in a little. After all, it's odd for a person who basically likes her work to be imagining a new world of no work.

True, I also like things that lie beyond the world of work and so here I face this eternal struggle of trying to find time to do it all and failing and wanting, therefore, to release something big -- retirement --  just so I can regain something small -- like reading a book before it's due back, unread, at the library.

All day I struggle with this, trying at the same time to be the careful grader that I like to be, trying, too, not to be tempted by the outdoors where I still have plants to plant, seeds to sow.

The new face of Flickr (my photo storage place on the web) puts today's breakfast photo right next to yesterday's breakfast photo...

DSC02634 - Version 2
(here's today's)

...and I can see that they are almost identical: too cold to eat outside, same this, same that, except today Ed hasn't quite arrived yet and isn't that just so appropriate because you could say that the entire flight of retirement fancy is just a little too sudden and strange for him to consider. He's not yet ready to view me in a world of non work. I can't be surprised. Ed is a man who takes four weeks to decide which mower to buy for our overgrown quack grass which is threatening to basically rule the farmette if we don't crash it down soon. 

I force myself to stay indoors this morning. If I go out, I'll start planting again and I'll fall further behind my grading goals. So I stay inside and I brood in between exams and I make an appointment with a retirement counselor at the university which is tantamount to admitting that I need professional help to sort this stuff out.

I talk to my daughter and I throw out the idea of retirement to her and I think she is not surprised that I should throw out draconian ideas so suddenly, without lead up, without due consideration. She knows me for too long.

She reminds me that I could, for example, mull over this idea for another year. Still, I pout at that. I'm not good at wait and see. Even as I understand that this would be the sane approach.

A friend who is a former student and also happens to be prompt with email gets to hear the retirement frenzy. She suggests that I go down a bit in work rather than go out totally and be done with it with no turning back.

I consider it but I know I'm not giving it a full consideration. It's a rational and sane idea, except that it's not how I proceed in life. When I'm in my teaching zone, I am completely wrapped up in that world, devoted to it -- it rules my existence and steers my days. I wasn't (it turns out) great at splitting my devotion between raising kids and promoting my career (I'll let you guess which world dominated my waking hours when the girls were small) and I would not be good at splitting time between being a retired person and being a prof. One or the other, not both.

Still, I put on the brakes just a little. For one thing, it's distracting me from getting my work done now.

In the late afternoon, I finally need that pause from grading. I need the smell of May air and so I walk the farmette land and admire the new blooms...

DSC02643 - Version 2

...and it's lovely to admire new blooms because despite the utter plushness of the yard...

DSC02646 - Version 2

...we are at that inbetween season when not too many things are blooming just yet. Early spring is over, late spring and summer have not yet begun. Irises are the bridges between the two and my bridges are budding and exploding right about now.

In the early evening we ride down to the Farmer's Market. Past the fields of Farmer Lee, where everything is just so orderly and precise -- so different than our own wacky world of random plantings and spontaneous garden sprawl.

DSC02649 - Version 2

At the market we pick up the usual breads and cheeses and spring asparagus...

DSC02651 - Version 2

They are the foods that set supper for tonight. We eat it late because -- would you believe it -- the temps are heading back down into the thirties again! No frost, but cold enough to be another hard blow to our struggling tomatoes. We cover them somewhat, but I think we are reconciled to the possibility of having to start afresh next week. Our seedlings look like they would very much like to give up the ship if we would just admit to failure and move on. Maybe. We'll decide that one over the weekend. Unlike retirement, replanting decisions require very careful thought and deliberation.

DSC02659 - Version 2

After supper, Ed dozes and I wish I could just do the same except I'm on a schedule: I post now so that I can pick up on work early tomorrow, with a pause to grocery shop for the week and, if I'm on schedule, to plant and weed, and then the day will disappear quickly, and that's not a bad thing, no not at all, except I am at a point in life when I do not want days to disappear quickly anymore.