Gingko leaves

On Mondays and Wednesdays this semester, I have the luxury of walking and writing in the morning before I leave for campus, but on Tuesdays and Thursdays those pleasures await me when I get home in the evening.

I sometimes think of the chores that await me when I get home as being a tall wall between me and the unplugging I crave at the end of a draining day. Instead of coming home and immediately flopping on the couch, as I’d prefer, I arrive home to a checklist of chores: bring in the trash, walk the dog, unpack my lunch tote, unload the dishwasher, clean the dogs’ dinner dishes, then collapse at my desk to write and prepare the next day’s classes before giving the diabetic cats their evening insulin and cleaning litter boxes before dinner.

When I walk and write in the morning, my mind is fresh and bright, brimming with energy and ideas. But when I write at the end of a teaching day, my inspiration is depleted, and I wish more than anything that someone would tend and shepherd me the way I try to encourage my students. It’s difficult to find anything interesting or profound to say at the end of a long teaching day, when my inner introvert wants to curl up with a book, someone else’s words replacing my depleted stores.

But here is the mystery: tomorrow morning, after an evening off and a good night’s sleep, I’ll do it all over again: teach, rest, repeat from the start of the semester to its eventual end.