It is I, Yaro, writing to you all from the Beehive state.
Mrs. Yaro has forbidden us the use of electronics for the coming weeks, so while she pulls weeds along the walkway to our summer cabin, I am tapping with tentative fingertips this message to my Miserable colleagues, much as Fabsun had requested in his missive to me.
There was the sweet release as my semester ended many days ago, and as always, my young charges bid their farewells - though many sought to engage me electronically for final grades and such, a practice which I'm loath to undertake, as the grades go out electronically by and by in the manner. Then the marking of the projects and such, and as always they took more energy and time than I had allotted or bargained for. One particular young man had endeavoured to use nearly an entire Wikipedia article to stand for his own efforts, and naturally he has discovered that a summer course retake is certainly in his future.
But I posted the final marks electronically in the manner, made two trips to my car with plants and mugs and personal items, and I've not seen the campus since.
Summer. It is not my favorite season, oddly, though many of my colleagues would likely claim it. I prefer long and bathed Springs and Autumns. But Summer releases me from my academic self, the professorial Yaro, and for that I am gorged in gratefulness. Where I once let my hair down in summer, I now simply stop combing what remains of it. Mrs. Yaro, in fact, is often called upon to trim the ends at this time of year, a practice that started when we were young sprites. We undertake the effort now on our porch, usually near the end of a day, me and her in our bare feet, a towel around my shoulders, and Mrs. Yaro energetically working with a dull but favorite pair of shears that I'm certain she uses more successfully - but not with more happiness - on dresses, tablecloths, and Christmas items for family members.
But I've strayed off the point once again.
Summer Yaro indeed shakes loose of the misery that infects us all - each in the manner - and I look forward to the respite, the hiatus, more each year.
What would I do, I wonder, if I were still a young charger, as once I, Yaro, was, teaching summer classes, writing, fending off the stink of a summer campus, the heavy air of cloistered classrooms? What if there were no Summer breeze to air out my cobwebbed and dusty brain? I am grateful, many times grateful, that my career has earned allowances, security, time, and most of all the opportunity to allow one school year to slip into the recesses, and be replaced with a fresher slate on which to write my path in the new one.
I know my campus is still abuzz, and my younger colleagues are chasing the Summer salary, revising chapters, fighting dragons and monsters and insubordinate clauses with fury and fascinating energy.
But what might they accomplish by just turning away occasionally? Of course I know the economics of this make it impossible for so many of our untethered colleagues, the visitors, the adjuncts. And it all for the worse of the academy. The Romans, of course, and forgive me if this is all matter of which you are aware, used the word "semestris," half-yearly, or of six months, because a reasonable and useful level of effort was said not to be sustainable beyond the measure.
And, so it has been my experience as well. The semester ends and teachers retreat, to make new, to refresh, to find nourishment that will allow a fit return.
And that is, of course, where I am now.
Mrs. Yaro has spied me through the screen. But do not worry over my safety. Mrs. Yaro's summer dicta are not so hard and fast. The occasional error on my part rarely results in anything more than a shake of her lovely, lovely head. As an example, I break the multiple frankfurter rule all the time - "the nitrites," she often intones, "dear, Yaro, you must remember what Dr. Sostratos urged!"
But it is a lovely afternoon here, and Mrs. Yaro has finished her weeding. We have the windows open and air rushes through this small and rustic room. It is 17 years since we first took a portion of summer here, and we are blessed to have it, its properties, its role in the give and flow of our yearly journey.
I know of no other medicine that works quite so well as a hiatus from the academy. I hope that you, given the myriad circumstances of the readership here on Fabsun's blog, find some way to shake clear of the semester past, if only to provide clear progress to the one to come.
I am your friend, and I wish you all well,