07 June 2012

Lovely Jewels in Joy Designed

Night Nurse

This is a song I first heard one night at the beginning of the magical summer of 2005. Sophia, Paul, and I were on the way home from an afternoon in Milwaukee, and I was feeling down yet expansive and hopeful (as was my wont at the time), lying in the back seat and watching the clouds turn colors with the sunset. I was so struck by its simple, quiet, lovely beauty that I had Paul play it several times.

I just heard it for the first time in seven years yesterday, and it brought back a flood of memories, memories of a time where I was not nearly as steadily happy as I am now, a time when I was up and down and open, often at the same time. I think the great struggle I have had, as I get older, is marrying the open expansiveness of youth with the steadiness of maturity (sic.) The two often seem, but don't have to be, mutually exclusive. When I listen to great songs like this, they certainly aren't.

It is the last day of the school year, again, and I am in my room, preparing to head out to Catch 22, a bar in Merrillville, to meet a gaggle of coworkers before heading home and meeting my wife for our annual (and much anticipated) sojourn to La Pena, the Ecuadorian restaurant on Chicago's north side that marks my truest beginning to summer. Then I will sleep until I can sleep no more.

Patricia and I leave for India in five days. I feel deeply happy but also rather exhausted, shiftless, filled with trepidation. We're to start in Mumbai, where we have a hotel right beside the Gateway to India, and then we move to Udaipur (of Lake Palace in the desert fame), then to Agra (and the Taj Mahal), New Delhi, Bangalore...and then, henceforth: sweet, slow rainy nothing.

I confess that I could deal with a great lot of sweet, slow, rainy nothing before heading to India, but there are people with problems greater than mine, so I shan't complain. (And what is it if not living to traverse a country smaller than the US with more population than the entire Western Hemisphere while tired and overrun? Perhaps here lies the answer to amalgamating the steadiness and the openness: have a plan with great spaces in it, and venture forth even when the world seems far too large and you feel far too small.)

It's been a tough but hugely enjoyable year, my first as Union President, my tenth as a teacher. I'm still on good terms with most everyone, especially my partner teacher (Rachel) who is great and with whom I will be working next year. Patricia and I are well and in love, and our cats are huge and puffy. And all is well and all manner of thing...

Summer is arriving, but, per usual, is doing so slowly, with an underhum of sadness.

I will be open to it, as best I can.



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