Thursday, March 20, 2014

WANING ACADEMIC LIFE

Beginning to wind down from collegiate career;
Difficult to imagine lack of regular contact with 
Close colleagues, motivated students, fulfilling tasks.

During 3-year practice toward retirement,
Working 2 quarters full, 2 quarters off:
Bites, tastes, flavors of letting go, unfolding.

Quarter sans meetings yields enormous relief;
Becoming less tolerant of necessary, or at least
Ubiquitous, administrivia and paperwork.

Today, surprising, reassuring, and slightly-unsettling
Schedule with only three events on paper version
Of usually-tighly-packed daily calendar page.

Time available: wake sans alarm clock's insistency;
Aerobic stroll to neighborhood private practice;
Leisurely sit in coffee house, tapping on iPad.

Obvious retirees, breathe in and out, calmly read,
Absorb oxygen at the same rate as news facts;
Lend relaxed ambiance to other patrons' busy days.

I gaze out at rare Seattle sunshine; passively observe
Girl in pink ballerina tutu; adolescent boy body-bumping 
Light-changing button on streetlight pole; moms with strollers;

People in vehicles stop, then await their turns to pursue 
Errands, tasks, business; trees push out buds; pair of beagles 
On red leashes, one paunchy, the other eager and wagging.

At last, some down time to reflect, notice, contemplate, 
wonder in awe and curiosity, practice different rhythm.
Inhale compassion, exhale compassion, again and yet again.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) March 20, 2014

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