Almost threw them out today,
But, upon input and reflection,
Retrieved from Lisa’s recycle box,
30-year stack of course syllabi,
To carry around for a while,
Like elephants’ respectfully and lovingly
Circling and carrying dried bones of their kin,
Perhaps celebrating and mourning their dead,*
As I now celebrate and mourn impending loss
Of beloved career, primary relationship of my life.
Syllabi, symbols and signs of my body of work,
From Introduction to Psychology to Advanced Theories: Jungian,
And ‘most all stops in between;
Four institutions of higher learning,
Cherished colleagues throughout,
Mentoring and shaping students headed toward service to
Sentient beings and systems across populations, diagnoses, and contexts.
Noting retirement of two dear colleagues in past two years;
Now my turn to dance off the academic stage.
As Stafford described elephants’ recognizing
A need to be clear about finding the park,**
My turn to discern and change direction in path and journey,
Shifting focus toward quasi-neglected people and interests:
Opportunity to schmooze and hang out;
Generatively read and write;
Complete bucket-list travel adventures;
Endlessly putter and create;
Sleep until naturally awakened from within.
But first, a final quarter replete with
Multitudinous tasks and responsibilities,
Continued clearing of paper and books from my office;
Valuing past and completing present, prior to glancing toward future.
All too quickly, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and the last quarter
A door closing behind me
—not locked or barred, but definitely closed.
Ann Beth Blake
© February 23, 2016
**Safford, W. (1994). The darkness around us is deep. New York, NY: Harper Perennial. (A Ritual we Read to Each Other)