Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April is the Cruelest Month

Now that spring is here the azaleas are ablaze. This year in my neighborhood and on and near campus the pre-blossoming jacaranda are thick with goldenrod sprouts exuding a mesmerizing sweetness (to be followed in May by an azure musk).

Stepping out my front door is like walking into a florist’s shop during prom week. If only I could linger, even briefly, to join in the intoxication… In academia spring’s first burst sometimes relaxes guards. This week, our break between quarters, some profs were caught lunching and laughing with an administrator (not me) in the spring sunshine. Reports of revelry reached even into my office suite. But I am not allowed to tarry…

for this is my hell week, 20+ tubs of retention, tenure and promotion files to read carefully, thoughtfully, judiciously, with careers at stake. If only I could retrieve the hour and fifteen minutes I spent in the dentist’s office waiting today; I could have read another file! Of course file review also has its joys. For example, I love tracing the intersections of faculty members’ scholarly and creative paths and storing this away for later use, linking one faculty member to another who may not know of her or his interest. E.M. Forster: “Only connect!” I also like the parts of letters to faculty when I get to say, “I commend,” “I appreciate,” or “I applaud.” When I meet with post-tenure faculty who have been reviewed and thank them, sadly many say that they have never been thanked. I know we can do better than that…

Which leads me back to a silly Facebook quiz which determined, based on seven forced choice questions, that my “power animal” is "hummingbird."

Apparently I “dart lightly through the world spreading a message of positivity”! How fine! But as I’m darting, weaving, and spreading joy, where is that sweet elixir to keep me humming? I think I’ll write another haiku!

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