I have forgotten my words.


It's astounding to me that, despite my having been out of the classroom this semester, I still seem to have risen and fallen according to the semester's pacing--which means that today, the last day of classes, had me as giddy and distracted as my colleagues who ticked off their last sessions and meetings, one by one by one. The day's glorious weather helped, as did my having tricked myself into mowing most of the yard. What I was good for today was staying in motion, walking from one end of the village to the other, then walking its other axis, heading down to my beloved classicist friend's house for tea and Greek delight and reading about the Graces. Then walking more, back to my clean-shorn yard and my not-yet-clean-swept porch. Then off again, this time with my excellent friends to acquire Chinese food.

But now I'm back at home and uncertain of what it was I'd planned to write about today--uncertain, in fact, about whether I ever figured out any topic for the day. It was one of those good early-season days: walking for long periods of time, trying to go long distances, helped settle my heavy stomach and get some new air into this torso.

Everything has felt like a massive holding pattern for a long time now, as I've waited and waited to hear about what will happen next year. Where I'll be will, in part, determine what I'll be doing with my research work. And though I have many tasks I could take on here in the meantime, I perversely keep waiting to have the overall picture in view before tackling any small corner. It is perverse. I know better. But what's funny is that last year at this time, I was watching the chestnut candles bloom and the ferns unfurl and I was wishing my Lexingtonian friend (whose birthday it was today!) the grace and patience to let her life unfold as it was meant to. But I, like so many of us, am far better at hoping for grace and patience for others than I am at asking it for myself.

Tomorrow is the twice-yearly Gambier tradition called Dumpster Day. Anything any Gambier resident wants to throw out, s/he can throw out. No questions. Makes me want to find some things to discard. One summer when I still lived in Ithaca, we had a week during which people could put anything they wanted to get rid of out by the curb, and it would get picked up--no questions. But people were always putting things out at the curb, and other people were always scavenging those things. So I was surprised that so many houses actually had lots of things outside: couches, refrigerators, tables and lamps, rugs. Those things were the rejects of the rejected. They were third-class garbage, maybe even fourth-class: stained, broken, torn, irredeemable. So much stuff ended up on the curb that the city couldn't clean it all up in the allotted time. I think, now that I'm remembering this more deliberately, that it was all billed as a Garbage Amnesty Week or something equally strange.

Tonight, my fortune cookie told me a hopeful thing: "You are a traveler at heart. There will be many journeys." No wonder it's so discomfiting to be on pause this way.