Monday, March 9, 2009

Sunday Morning

My chrome and glass french press pot, brought out of storage for guests who'd brought their own grounds, sat gleaming on the table, catching the light. There was a Sunday Times folded haphazardly on the corner. I'd made pancakes for C & D even though I wouldn't be eating any. The kids played boisterously in the other room, but the kitchen nook where we sat still seemed quiet, radiating soft sunshine through the shades that illuminated the green room with warmth and ease.

Warmth and ease wasn't something we'd been used to. C & I were on sabbatical. For six and a half years we had been struggling with the tenure process and it had worn us down. Of the four of us in our cohort, C had gotten Lupus, I had been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, and another had gotten divorced. Those were the big signposts -- there were other more minor symptoms, from sleeplessness to recurrent colds. In some ways that isn't anything about tenure, but about life in your 30s and 40s. In other ways, while the whole process of tenure couldn't be called a cause of any of these things, the stress it put on our bodies and souls certainly didn't help.

C and I have chatted before about how most people don't understand what it means to be a faculty member. It's one of those jobs that invades every area of your life. Teaching, Research, Service -- get it done, do more of it, or lose your job and your reputation at the end of six years. I'm certain there are more stressful jobs, but the difference I think is that from the outside it seems so peachy: most people think we wander onto campus a few days out of the week, babble on to our classes, and go home.

So this sabbatical is more than about having the time to do projects put on hold for six years, it is about having the time to refresh our bodies and souls from the inside out. For me, that means cleansing with whole, raw vegan foods. It means juicing with the juicer C&D brought me that weekend. It means being creative again -- returning to a side of my professional life that I'd all but forgotten. It means, just maybe, feeling the light and ease return.

1 comment:

  1. Sandra!

    Creative ... that you are in spades!

    And I'm with you all the way in feleing the light and ease return.

    Refresh! Looking forward to hearing more about your escapades.