Thursday, September 28, 2017

Some Days, You Just Need a Fountain

Yesterday, as part of a lesson on procrastination (a little bit of pro, a little bit of con), my students and  I were talking about overdoing it. When I was younger, I prided myself on being able to do it all. Over time, I began to discover that approach was overrated.

And now, I must admit to having reached the tipping point.

It's a temporary state of affairs, I know -- some weeks are just like that. My students are feeling it too, and I'm profoundly aware that things that should be small things have morphed into alleged catastrophes; first world problems surround me and threaten to do in my tenuous sense of mastery over my life.

Fortunately, with age comes wisdom -- or at least enough information that we can sometimes excavate strategies that seem wise and useful. Now, when I'm overwhelmed, I know what I need. Maybe it's a nap, or some time to mediate.

Or maybe it's just some time at the fountain.

As a college instructor, I have access to a campus full of wonderful things, but my favorite spot on campus is on a bench beside the fountain. At first, it reminded me of my own college days but, over time, it's become a place where I seek peace and relaxation. When the weather is nice, a little time by the fountain is all it takes to recharge. (A trip to the beach would be nice, but a trip to the fountain is more realistic).

Today, as I prepared to leave campus and head to Starbucks to do the next thing on my ever-scrolling to-do list (this overdue blog), I found myself turning toward the fountain instead. Within fifteen minutes, the blogs that had loomed over me so oppressively (what will I write? can't I just take a nap instead?) were flowing along with the water. The white noise of the splashing droplets wrapped competing noise in opacity, and a sense of peace, so elusive over the past few days, was suddenly within reach.

All that is special about working on a college campus seems amplified on a breezy fall day by the fountain. And perhaps what I needed -- more than the blog posts, more than the fountain -- was the opportunity to step not just outside but outside of myself as well.

Amazing how often we forget that.

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