Friday, November 10, 2017

On Sabbatical


Hibernating animals always fill me with envy.
I have felt tired and overwhelmed for my whole adult life. And I fantasize about escape.

A clear college memory is epistemology class my freshman year. The professor explains that there is no way we can be sure whether a table is real or a creation of our minds. I'm quite certain that either this class is stupid or I am. The classroom is recently  remodeled with soft new blue-grey carpet. I  long to curl into fetal position in an empty corner.

A few years later, I looked back at college as the easiest point of my life and hoped for some real break, enough time off to find and refresh myself.

People think school teachers have all summer for that, but cleaning up and setting up classrooms plus required training subtracts about a month from that and most of us have second jobs as well. By the time summer starts, it ends.

In the middle of teaching and parenting and coping with the early years of RA, I created a poem about tiredness and longing.      
                            

Sabbatical

last year's harvest wasn't worth the planting
blighted fruit on spindly vines
stunted by spent soil 

so this year
I lie fallow

let raindrops puddle in tired eyes
     soften trampled soul

     bindweed halo hair
     rub aching toes

     roots pry open cracks

     worms wriggle in
     consume the wastes of overwork
     leave nutrients behind

let skin bask in dandelion sun

     bees bring pollen
     dance with drifting seeds

     heart catch fire with trees
     till leaf-fall knits soft afghan
     against frost burn
     snow fall

     sap slow cloud-chilled

     dreams breathe beneath snow

     dormant till spring 

My wish came true. I had to leave work. I've had more than a school year of rest now. If I wish, I can spend the day in bed or while away hours birdwatching through the window. 

 I'm still tired. And even though I have very few real responsibilities, I'm still overwhelmed. 

But I wear bright colors and a smile and go out into the world pretending to have it all together. Are we all pretending? Would something good, or bad, happen to society if we stopped? 

2 comments:

  1. Oh I can't do sabbatical. Sabbaticals seem wonderful but every time I go on one, I get bored out of my mind. Maybe it is the length of the sabbatical that gives me pause. After all the one week I took a few years ago nearly drove me nutty. Ok, so I am trying to do 2 days now.

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  2. I understand. My "sabbatical" right now is, I suppose, the "normal" life of a housewife with grown children and it's making me crazy. I wish my body would let me go back to work.

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