This morning I have been catching up on reading blogs. Months ago, my blog reader format changed so there is an extra step for me to see posts. I have to admit that I have gotten a bit behind especially since it has been nearly impossible for me to read posts from a mobile device.
Since my last post, I have returned to work at least in the form of meetings. My first day back was last Monday and my focus was on setting up my office. After twenty-some years, our work offices had their carpet replaced. It makes a world of difference.
Years ago, I was upgraded to an office with a window. I did not care what view I had as long as there was natural light. I painted my office after moving into that office because it had three shades of gray paint on the walls. The previous painters painted around furniture and over time the furniture was moved. It was horribly dreary to look at such ugly walls. The paint color I selected was a nice shade of mauve in the store. In the actual office, it appears more princess-purple; but, I like purple so I enjoy it.
I replaced my old lunch bag with a new bat version that is made from recycled plastic bottles. On the first day I brought my lunch, I even cut my sandwiches into coffin shapes. I have been trying to refocus my efforts on eating tasty and healthful meals.
And, after the landscapers chopped down my day lilies and hibiscus over a month ago, I have replanted some day lilies (Little Grapette and Rosy Returns) and spotted buds on the hibiscus this morning. They are nowhere the size they usually are this time of year but at least I get to see them resurrect once again before 2018.
Of course, yesterday was the solar eclipse. I worked from home in the morning and then spent the afternoon with my fella staring at the sun. With mere minutes before our peak time (86% coverage in my area), the clouds rolled in and ended our hour wait. Let me be clear about how perfectly okay I am that this happened. It was hot and humid as hell yesterday so cloud coverage made sitting outdoors a bit more enjoyable; and we were able to see most of the event together in the middle of a workday. We recognized our privilege of being able to do that.
The eclipse needed to be a turning point for me. Last week, a dear former student passed away. To my knowledge, this is the first death that I have experienced of any of my students. He was a special one and we had just spoken days before. It was the most tragic and awful of possible tragic and awful events, and I have tried to come to terms with it as best I can. His death cast a shadow over the summer and my return to work.
My good friend The Curious Professor Z helped me reflect on the day. My fella and I had come up with solar-eclipse-watching rituals but I needed a personal one and a time to reflect so I asked her for her thoughts. Regarding eclipse day, she writes, “It's a special day because the day turns into night and then back into day. And it's a New Moon, new beginnings. What do you want to bring out of the darkness into the light? Once you answer that you can write your own [ritual]” which is exactly what I did.
There are several things that I want to shed light on. I journaled, sat and listened, journaled some more. This morning I am thinking about shadows and how our English language has so many idioms for darkness and shade, and how they are typically negative. Many of us take solace in the shadows. Because of the medication that I take, I burn within five minutes so most of my time outside is under some kind of umbrella.
There is protection in the darkness just as there is growth in the light. Without going into too many details, it always returns to balance- the Yin and the Yang, the push and the pull, the here and the there.
Cut down perennials return; old bottles become cute lunch bags; the sun leaves and returns; a life ends and its meaning transforms. The cycle continues.
And, because I never take myself too seriously, at the peak of the eclipse, I decided it would be funny to don my vampire fangs when my fella looked over at me.