This morning, in the hour before the alarm rang, I dreamt that I learned I was pregnant. In the dream, I was traveling, both on some sort of journey with a group of people (who may have included my family) and also on my own rambles just beyond the expected parameters of that group's movement and stasis. At some point, I saw a map, and on that map, near the end of a spit of land, was the label "Dr. S." "A place named for me!" I exclaimed to someone in the dream. Strangely, I kept wandering, and at high speed, and the news of my pregnancy only complicated and intensified my desire for motion, my need to keep tracing long ovals through a rural landscape that echoed southern Indiana and mid-Ohio without ceasing. Except on the map, where everything was pure coastal fringe, water fingering coastline, interlocking saltwater and sand. The pregnancy concerned me, even in the dream: I remember trying to recalculate the flexible spending account I create with paycheck withholdings every month, thinking that it was terrible that I'd just underestimated what I'd need, only days before learning that I'd probably be spending thousands on prenatal care.
The dream itself was a sign of burgeoning, of things simmering and percolating and concatenating--all those metaphor-mixing verbs. Saturday's commencement ceremony is a massive beginning anew for the students, of course--a beginning again as non-students--but today I'm far more focused on the ways that the close of an academic year represents the rebirth of all those parts of my scholarly identity that get displaced ever so slightly by the day-to-day work of teaching and advising. An alternate set of books has been gravitating to my bags and desks this week, following me around along with the final grading I tote about. (And have I never told you that my main workbag is actually a diaper bag? That's another story altogether, as usual.)
Part of what yielded my dream of impending nativity: at a reception last night where I had a chance to interact with one of my favorite local babies, I was startled that--as I played with this child--an older friend whom I haven't seen for awhile called out to me, "No, no, not yet," obviously instructing me not to have a child now. I had never realized the degree to which being told not to reproduce could feel just as intrusive as being asked when I planned to reproduce. (I count myself blessed that no one actually asks me this question, that instead I hear about others' being asked it.)
Another part of what birthed the dream: I had a major meeting this morning to discuss my work, and while I had no real fear that the meeting would be anything but insightful, supportive, and even provocative, I can freely admit to having felt the tiniest squeeze of anxiety. The dream's suggestion bore fruit, though: the meeting was not only reassuring but even generative: I've bumped one of my major professional goals forward by about six months, a move that feels scary and invigorating all at once.
This afternoon, I was having coffee with my excellent novelist friend. We took advantage of the rain's having stopped--a cessation that continued through the afternoon and even brought with it some sun, so welcome--by sitting outside the coffeeshop. About halfway through our time out there, a cement mixer passed by, its tub spinning and spinning, as they do, always. As we walked back to the officehouse, the truck passed us going in the other direction, and I mentioned my childhood love of those trucks (and found out that his daughter loved them, too--why should this be? we wondered, deciding it might have something to do with the multiple axes along which those trucks' circular motions happen simultaneously). As a kid, I was in love with medium-sized trucks: the UPS truck; the garbage truck; and especially the cement mixer. For the hell of it, I'm going to force the analogy: it's possible that one reason the cement truck looked right and important (or right important) to me today lies in the fact that I'm continuing to embody this alternate kind of gestation process, even if only for myself, and that the closing of the semester and the opening of the summer form one of those transition points where I become more fully aware than before of all the growing and tending and nurturing I've been doing, in hidden places and at barely known times, even at my busiest moments this semester. This alternative, repetitive motion has kept going even as I've been moving straight on ahead; the stuff that needs to stay in the mix has stayed in the mix, and it's nearly time to see what's in there.
And then I slip effortlessly back to the organic analogy, because a spinning truck will only take me so far. Greening, I keep thinking to myself these days. It's all greening. I'm greening. And oh, just you wait. Just you wait and see.