Frost-bitten crabapples

Stopping to photograph several frost-bitten crabapples, I hear the thin, shrill cry of a cedar waxwing looking for his flock.

This is my belated day five contribution to this month’s River of Stones.

Three robins

A dozen robins glean winter-dried crabapples from a twiggy tree, its trunk girdled in waist-deep snow.

This is my belated Day Twenty-Eight submission to a river of stones, a month-long challenge to notice (and record) one thing every day. I’ll be posting my “stones” both here and on Twitter, where submissions are tagged as #aros. Enjoy!

Flowering crabapples

One of several unanswered emails in my Inbox right now is from a friend asking if I’ve done something to celebrate the end of the semester at Keene State. The fact that said friend asked this on Tuesday, after I’d submitted grades right before their noon deadline, and I haven’t had a spare moment to answer her email tells you something about the past few days.


After submitting grades at Keene State, I had online discussion board posts to catch up with; after I caught up with discussion board posts, I had neglected errands to run. Today, I drove from Newton to Keene to attend a pair of faculty development meetings; tomorrow, I’ll be helping teach meditation to a gaggle of suburban high school seniors. I haven’t, in the meantime, had a chance to finish last week’s online grading, answer emails from friends, or otherwise celebrate the end of one set of classes while another set continues on. The downside of being a multi-tasking, moonlighting adjunct instructor is that there’s always something going on somewhere: the end of the semester for one school is Just Another Week at another.

Reflected maple flowers & leaves

The upside of being a multi-tasking, moonlighting adjunct instructor is the steady flow of paychecks a staggered academic schedule assures. As I chatted with various adjunct colleagues at Keene State, several of them mentioned in one way or another the financial pinch of the coming months: a summer without teaching is, for adjunct instructors, a summer without paychecks. By choosing an academic rather than a corporate career, I chose a employment path that allows me more free time in the summer to enjoy the flowering and leafy things that bring that season joy; by choosing to supplement my adjunct income at Keene State with what I can earn elsewhere, I chose a path that occasionally results in conflicting schedules.

Later this summer, I’ll have time to smell the flowers, catch up with email, and celebrate some downtime…eventually. In the meantime, an occasional glimpse of crab-apples, dogwoods, and flowering maples will have to do.