Deliberate Exile

The large fat pod is Kentucky Coffee Tree. The round seeds came from that. The long twisty one came from a Catalpa, and the short one is a Black Locust pod.

I’m not good at unscheduled time. I fritter. I diddle. I poke. I dawdle. While these are great life skills when it comes to centering down and relaxing, they can lead to ennui and a sense of time wasted. I will make sure that I preserve some serious dawdle time in the coming weeks, but I do need a little structure for myself.

1. The school requirements will help. During school hours, I need to be checking my emails and learning management system every hour or so (probably more frequently), so this will keep me focused. During that time, I am going to try to get as much of my backlog of grading completed as I can during these early days.
2. I want to work on some creative project every day. I have a prayer shawl I am knitting. I will make some crocheted hearts. I have some sewing to do. I want to bake bread. I will start to paint again.
3. I will write regularly.
4. I am going to walk more every day, though I might take a bit of a break today to give my aching back a rest. More yoga, too.
5. I commit to not scarfing junk food. My response to anxiety (to basically anything, actually) is to eat more. I want to nourish my body, with healthy food.
6. I want to keep limits to social media time. I actually think I (and maybe you) need social media connections more than ever right now and I want to be deliberate about these connections, just not lazily scrolling.
7. I am going to make a point of reaching out more, making email connections I’ve let lapse, make little videos for my mother-in-law, who is in a personal care building that has people confined to their rooms.
8. Jon is still going to work for the foreseeable future, though that could change. I think he’s going to try to stop and get supplies to contribute to a brown bag lunch program that a Lancaster City church is setting up for children who are home from school. I’m trying to think about ways that we can help even while we’re in Exile for the Good of the Realm.

During the plague quarantines, Shakespeare wrote King Lear, and when Cambridge University closed because of the plague, Newton had his encounter with the apple tree. He called the quarantine hiatus his “year of wonders.” Shall we create and discover wonders of our own? What are your plans?

Gratitude List:
1. Nettle is coming up! I tasted some of the new baby leaves yesterday while Josiah and I were throwing a ball in the yard.
2. The bees are not in exile. They keep doing their work.
3. Red-tailed hawks flying above the holler.
4. In the past two days, I have found several beanpods from the Kentucky Coffee Tree up the hill. I love these beans. They’re satisfying to hold. I think I am going to plant a couple of them.
5. I recognize my fear and anxiety, and yours, too. I recognize that many people are in dire straits at the moment, and this is painful. We are also making the most of this time-out-of-time here in the holler. May you, too, find some rest and some time for reflection.

May we walk in Beauty!

I Just Love that Kid

I wonder if my students sometimes find themselves filled with a warm feeling out of nowhere, as if someone has just whispered, “I just love that kid,” and they can feel the vibe like a gentle breeze across their souls. I always feel a little frustrated with myself at the end of a semester when I still have a stack of grading to finish, and I wish I could have handed the papers directly to the students for the feedback; still, I also love to have these final moments of quiet, thoughtful contemplation of each one of them, bringing them back into my mind as I read their last words of the school season. Often, I catch myself whispering, “I just love that kid.”

Gratitude List:
1. My own schedule. Sleeping when I want. Working and taking breaks when I want.
2. Planning for next year. While I am doing this last bit of grading, I am thinking about how to make next year’s classes even better. How to define my assignments more clearly. How to ask more effective questions. How to get them interacting with each other more. How¬†to elicit critical thinking. How to stimulate curiosity and creativity. How to challenge them without creating frustration.
3. Indigo bunting
4. Nettle/mint/dandelion/wild chamomile/catnip/plantain tonic. Good for what ails you.
5. Solitude

May we walk in Beauty!