Every day, a little death

The leaves from our willow tree are falling in greater profusion every day and scattering themselves across the thinning, yellow grass. It’s dry, and summer is winding down. The sun never gets as high as it did a month ago, and the leaves from the remaining trees block it out, so that even in the afternoon the house is dark with shade, much darker than in winter. You can hear the thinness of the leaves when the wind blows. Every day I spend some time getting ready for the coming academic year, when (as our boss tells us in his obligatory end of summer letter) we will “hit the ground running at 100 miles per hour.” How dreary. Wave goodbye to leisure.

All good things must come to an end, but what I will miss most, once the fray is entered, is the ability to follow a thought to its logical conclusion, the ability to make connections between disparate events – the ability, in other words, to be deeply engaged with the world – because once it all starts up again, we’re in survival mode. It’s day-to-day coping skills that get us through, and deep thoughts get sidelined, as does wide reading.

So, I had better get down to it, and create a framework for the coming year, so that when the time comes, I will be able tread water at 100 miles per hour. Because it’s better to be fast when you’re going nowhere.

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