Monday, March 24, 2008

returning to center

I just returned from a few days at the coast. I thought I would be spending five days there. That was whittled to four due to the need to get all of my tax information in order for my accountant before leaving town and it taking far longer than I planned.

I delayed my target leave day of Thursday afternoon until Friday morning; then stayed up all night - completing my tax organizer and submitting it, with all of my notes, at 5:30 am. Ouch. I slept two hours and was awakened by the alarm. The first words out of my mouth were, "I don't know how I'm going to make the drive on only two hours sleep." My partner answered, "you're not; go back to sleep." I did.

I woke up about three hours later, tossed clothes, laptop, book, and more papers to grade and videos to watch into the car, and we headed to Eugene. Where I was going to nap in the car and read my book while my partner and brother-in-law went through their father's belongings to see what to keep and what would be disposed of. What I thought would be maybe three hours starting around noon, when we'd decided on this plan earlier in the week, became about six hours beginning at five in the afternoon due to a late start and it just taking longer. Not a problem. I had a good book and could use the sleep. And we had great pizza and homemade beer. And arrived in Newport at one in the morning.

I awoke to a rare beautiful and calm day on the Oregon coast around noon. I made coffee, plugged in the laptop, connected to the internet and opened up Mozilla. Oops - DNS error; cannot connect to server. I tried again. I'll spare you the details. I spent a couple hours trying to figure out what was wrong: was it the laptop or the connection? Luckily my Blackberry had internet access so I could try to troubleshoot the problem. Unfortunately the Blackberry couldn't log me into Blackboard to retrieve student scores or into the grading system to post grades once I had the information I needed (which also included the scores from the other half of the class I was co-teaching). I did a search through my Blackberry and found places in Newport with WiFi. Bingo - among them was the public library.

I love the library! Not only did they have WiFi, but they also had public computers. So I took my laptop (in case it was the connection and not my computer) and headed to the library for what ended up being three hours. And it was the connection. Whew! I love the library for their books, as well ...but on Saturday, I loved them even more for giving me access to my students' information.

Grades done. Dinner at one of my favorite sushi restaurants, Sada's. Then back to the condo to finish up the distance students feedback (other than videotaping that information for them, which I will do Wednesday and Thursday and mail on Friday). To bed about 1:00 AM.

Sunday I woke up around 11:30 to pouring rain, high winds, and 45 degrees. But it didn't matter. I was at the coast. Made coffee, toast with peanut butter, and Morningstar sausage, with a Jazz apple. Sat on the sofa, opened the curtains, and watched it storm.

Ahhh. I love the coast. And I didn't have internet access so the laptop stayed off. I watched the waves pounding the beach and the wind blowing the seagulls backwards and a lone para-surfer on the beach. His red and black sail pulling him up and down the beach, once being lifted from the water (or so it looked from the warmth and dryness of my view), and slick and smiling in his wetsuit.

Today it was sunny, again.

And now I'm home.

Not as relaxed and rejuvenated as I'd hoped I'd be at this time - but definitely more centered from having a little time away. And my taxes were in on time, my grades were in on time, and my feedback is ready to be taped. Before I started this writing, I looked at my schedule and blocked out another long weekend in the not too distant future. I hope to plan a little better so I will have a day to just chill and read and sleep and then do some long hours of writing. I started a piece at the coast this afternoon and realized I just need a day or two offline to bring me back toward my center, the source of my creativity.

I remember a line I read when I was making a collage last night, something I just happened across while I was randomly selecting pictures: "and this is the wellspring where language bubbles up." Sometimes I need a little stillness to be able to hear it.

Fat meaty starfishes cling to a rock