good things · saving my sanity

Beyond post-summer tristesse

Living in Edmonton has made me so polite, that I start every conversation with a weather update. Well, polite might not be quite the term here, but my optimism (self-delusion?) makes me prefer it to, say, boring, obsessed, desperate, etc. So you can see how the beginning of September and its ushering of a greater statistical possibility of snow, sleet, and other decidedly non-summery meteorological events would make me cringe less than happy. However, what saves it for me is looking both ways: forward to the new term, but also back to the summer that’s passed and its many delights.

One of summer’s delights: the ferry leaving Swartz Bay

It’s been a working summer for me, as for most people, I guess. What made it different in my personal academic history, was the absence of that uniquely summery feeling that “if it doesn’t get done today, it will tomorrow, or next week. It’s all good.” Yes, I actually did use to have summers like that. They were glorious, in retrospect. One deadline after another cascaded throughout this most recent summer of mine, in a way that will probably take its toll mid-October, if not sooner. But I did so some summery things. Many of them, in fact. Like travel, like walks to the park and in the River Valley, like reading fiction for pleasure.

Reading fiction at leisure is the definitive trait of my summers. If nothing else, I can read as much as I want, because while experiencing it, summer seems endless. The days are long, especially this far north, and mostly sunny, so all I dream of doing, really, is taking a book out in the back yard, and lounging and reading a great book. And then thinking about how I might teach it.

Which brings my gaze to the “forward” direction: the new academic year. The busy campus. The new students. The mind-blowing conversations. All the things. So many things to discover, to discuss, and to do. Erin was asking on Monday about the resolutions we might make at the beginning of the academic year. I’m not one for resolutions, but I do wish I could maintain a balance between the impression of freedom and endless time that summer bestows (at least on me, and it’s definitely an impression) and the tenuously contained chaos of September. What do you wish for yourself?

One thought on “Beyond post-summer tristesse

  1. Oooh, a summer full of deadlines is the wrong kind of summer, frankly. You need that real unstructured sense of time to recover from the 8 months of term time.

    I wish for steady effort and steady work, rather than panic and collapse.


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