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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Still lives; stilling life

I'm pretty sure this photograph is slightly out of focus, and I haven't quite lined up the horizontals and verticals, but the minute I took it, my camera folded into itself and said its battery needed re-charging.  This is where I have been spending my mornings trying to get Twig to come out of himself, and it's a spot that only gets occasional sunshine, so it's unlikely I'll be able to take the photograph again and get the same effect.  But in some ways, that's okay:  it's a metaphor for my mood toward the end of August.   There is something gorgeously ripe about August.  The days can still be hot, but the nights turn cool in a way that is cozy and comforting.  The produce at the farmer's market has hit its peak. The blue of the sky is brilliantly clear in the dryer air of August.  Tonight as Bill and I walked along Wascana Creek just north of the RCMP Museum, the moon bobbed above the horizon, full, huge, and a pinky-gold that I've never seen before.  Quite likely the moon will not be that large again until it reaches the full next August.

Nor will I put the season's first apples in the silver bowl again this year.  Just like the sunshine in my comfortable corner and the harvest moon, the first apples are a once-a-year event.  In some ways that's helpful:  singular events keep us aware of the passing of time in a way that's celebratory rather than infused with our mortality. 

Yet like the photograph above, this all seems slightly out of focus.  My relationship to time--probably one of the most complicated relationships in my entire life--has been a bit different this summer because it's my last one before retirement.  I've tried to keep up a full schedule of writing, tried to make good headway on the Woolf book, in spite of the fact that I still have much to do and could, perhaps reasonably, just sigh and give up until I retire.  Yet I've also been trying to spend more time with my introverted cat, Twig, who really wants me to retire--perhaps more than anyone.  He thinks it's so cool that I hunker down to have my coffee with him in the morning.  These moments, when I sit where the sunshine is above, have slowed down time, almost stilled it. 

I'm more and more aware that each moment in my life, like the first apples or a harvest moon, is one I cannot have again.  Whether it's August or February, moments have their singularity, and I would like to find a way during my last year of teaching to frame such moments--in focus or even a little bit out.

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