The month of June is a beautiful thing. Our seniors graduate Memorial Day Weekend; the remaining underclassmen have four days of exams……….and then they joyfully and noisily depart. The dorm transforms from loud voices in the hallways, pounding feet on the stairs, knocks on the door to………….silence. I’d almost use the words “eerily silent” but that might imply it’s a bad thing. Yes, we have a few days of Faculty Meetings with retirement parties and department meetings and professional development, but not unlike the students, we sit in anticipation……..and then joyfully depart!
But this year end I was tired. Really tired. I came down with the worst (and my first) case of conjunctivitis coupled with a sinus infection. I felt miserable……...but not really because the end was in sight! Like Etta James, I found myself singing, “At last…….”
Don’t get me wrong: I love teaching, and 85% of the time I love my job. But after nine months of all that boarding school demands, we need a break. A break from teaching and grading and writing comments; a break from dorm duty; a break from the relentless schedule that the end of a school year brings; a break from games and awards ceremonies and art shows and dinners and gatherings. The end of this school year felt particularly emotional for me; there were lots of last talks in the common room or in the classroom, and there were a few too many sad goodbyes. And I don’t know about you but when I am tired it’s too easy to think about all the things that I should have done better all year……..my list was getting longer by the minute.
A wise mentor told me years ago, “You need the three months of summer to do this job. Half of it is to recover; the other half is to ramp up for the months ahead.” And it’s true.
So I’m in recovery mode. Our campus is particularly beautiful this time of year. It is green and sunny and bright and quiet. The mosquitoes haven’t quite descended yet; they have July and August for that. Nor have summer camps arrived when the dorms fill once again with noisy middle-schoolers. (Not my problem!) It is quiet. Peaceful.
And so I recover. Walk along the marshes. Attend yoga classes to warm greetings of, “Where have you been!” I play catch up. Catch up with off-campus friends who I haven’t seen in months...as in last summer. I catch up on current events and then regret it. I get my physical;I visit the dentist. I clean my refrigerator and my closets. I dust the pollen off of my furniture and wash the floors. I read books………..anything I want from “sweeping family sagas” translated from Greek best sellers to non-fiction like I’ll be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer to My Antonia! Like I said, I read whatever I want. I meditate; I pray.
Another more cynical friend declares every 4th of July, “Summer is over; the kids will be back before you know it.” But until then, it is June, and I’m enjoying my recovery.