Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Spring Cleaning

Winter semester is over. I've got only one class for the spring, and an itch is overtaking me to clean up, organize, sort and toss. We're undergoing major remodeling and we all have to move out of our offices for part of the summer. When I get back from my two months in LA, I'll be in a new office with a WINDOW for the first time in my tenure as a faculty member. I've been knocking around these parts since '93 and it's inevitable that huge piles of detritus have accumulated: too much history, too much paper, a torpid and claustrophobia-inducing disorder.

So I plunge into pile after pile. It's a relief to throw out artifacts of the past, some good, some bad. I don't need to be reminded of all this stuff again. It's good to begin to travel lighter in the world. Not to make too much of it, but this feels a bit spiritual in effect: expunging, forgiving, taking a deep breath and calling a quiet end to unproductive clingings and obsessions. If one's not careful the weight one tugs along in life gets heavier and heavier, when really a person moving into old age needs to be as nimble and graceful as possible. I'm starting to see how much it matters to strip things down, not to hang on so tightly to disappointments, failures, slights, dashed dreams, old fights. Sometimes I feel like a sea creature weighted down with barnacles and sea weed. I want to focus the mind. I want to swim more freely into clear waters.

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