Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Dreaming the Day
He wakes when the cat touches his cheek with her paw. She wants the bedroom door opened. She knows he will give her food even though it is 3:00 AM.
He obliges and returns to bed. In a few minutes, she does too, now full and sleepy.
As the cat snores, he dreams about his day.
Before leaving the house, he will fill the fountain, the hummingbird feeder, check the gates so javelina don't pillage the garden. The swamp cooler should be turned on too.
Today is the last class for his first-year course. He will get bagels to mark the occasion. They will eat while they workshop the final portfolio. One student said he would bring root beer floats; another juice. They have become a community of sorts, in spite of the big, indifferent, anonymous assembly line that big universities can be. It will be chaotic, but that is part of the day, part of the time of year, part of this time of life.
After the class he will meet with the director to discuss his annual review. He doesn't look forward to that. He knows he has not been as engaged as he might be with the bureaucratic chores of academic work at a university -- the teaching, yes, he is serious about, but the paperwork... The review will likely not be pretty in that area.
He wonders if he should ask for forgiveness. He sees his shirking as a bit of a misdeed, somewhat less than ethical behavior. Should one ask for forgiveness when he or she chooses work that falls outside the purview of job description? He lets the question go.
The window begins to lighten. It must be almost 4:30. Time to get up soon.
After the conference with his boss, he will grade papers and plan tomorrow's classes. Over lunch he might take a bike ride to the edge of the city, but the wind will be blowing hard. No matter. The bike will roll, will carry him to the hills, its dance of physics, balance, gyroscopic effect seductive. It is one the great earthly delights, and he is addicted to union of body and machine. It gives him pleasure.
There's a red flag warning posted for late morning and the rest of the day. Fires. Fires. The drought spells apocalypse for the desert unless rain comes in May or June. Not likely.
Then there is a potluck for the adjunct lecturers. He will bring something easy, like crackers and cream cheese and sliced salmon.
Then he will do a reading, play some music, wander off on the ideas that drive his actions -- wildness, stories, surrender. He will pack the guitar, a drum, and some notes for the reading. He will print out some recent work that is still rough but carries fresh excitement.
None of his themes is a popular topic, but it's what he has gleaned from years of teaching, writing and reading. He has straddled the line between art and politics, poetry and rhetoric, aesthetic and academic for years, never being able to decide. Or maybe he decided by not deciding. Householding made the decisions of how to spend time for him.
Now, he is near the end of a career that some might call ne'er do well, also ran, or even failure.
He knows better, most of the time.
One of the inmates from the prison writing workshops, who has been recently released, might join him at the reading. After drumming and playing guitar and reading it will be time to go home, now late.
On the way home, he will think about which direction his life might take from here. He knows that life is an ongoing fork in the path that just keeps presenting itself. This ongoing dilemma buzzes now with acuteness. He sees leanness down one path, more comfort down the other. He knows his heart creates problems and challenges when he listens to it.
After he drops off his friend, he will go home to sleep and to dream what might be.