About to go on my first adventurous bike ride into the countryside. Sans map, but with a relatively good sense of direction. Like, I know town is to the left, and farther than that is the ocean. It's a perfect Danish summer--a little cool to wear a t-shirt, but sunny, with clear blue skies. Huge puffs of dandilions cover the fields. It's very quiet.
I was in Cafe Q from three to five today to give back student journals and portfolios. Many students (well, six) had emailed to say they were already gone; I'm going to mail their work to them. The rest don't care, and I will have their don't-care portfolios in my linen closet until I am old and gray. One student came right at three, apologizing for being late, and he was one of the nicest and most hardworking of them all and I wanted to say something to that effect but I was standing and a little flustered and ended up with the quick thank you have a great summer. After he left, I read Ann Truitt's journal "Turn" for two hours. At five a second student, just out of baseball practice, arrived, to my great relief, and I made him sit and talked his ear off like he was my last remaining connection to humanity.
Then I walked very slowly home in the spitting rain. I really wish right now that I knew for sure where I'm going to be in the fall. Isn't there some truism about it being easier to give something up when you know what you're gaining in return? If there isn't, I have invented a truism. On the other hand, there's "Leap and the net will appear". But who said that? I bet it was someone living in a country with universal health insurance.
Now I have to stop worrying (and love the bomb) and go have a wonderful dinner with friends. Everything will work out. I just need to figure out a way to paint and write while retaining structure to my days.
Last day of classes at JHU ever, and I was expecting sadness, poignancy, etc., but really it just felt like any other Friday, except I went to Dunkin Donuts first thing to get two dozen "mixed assortment" and a jug of orange juice. The lady at DD did the mix herself, which I assumed was random but the second box was the exact same ratio. I ate a cake donut while preparing for class, and a glazed cake donut afterwards, so my rollercoaster blood sugar probably contributed to my odd feeling all afternoon.
Then, department party: 5 P.M. Hodgson, subdued, very little food that can be politely eaten in public, the usual suspects, S. Dixon remembering me from his retirement dinner, the hawk catching the rabbit on the lawn (that was last year, says Thomas). Gina drove us to Abell (by way of the Schnapp Shop), we ate nutter butters, talked too much about the future to be enjoying the present.
That writing about Takayama reminded me that I totally dropped the ball on helping a nice woman in Charlottesville find homestays for her students this summer. I emailed her today but it was too late to help this season; she had already moved that leg of the trip to the Lake Biwa area. I suck. So many ideas, so little follow-through.
The ice cream truck has been out in Hampden this week. Nearly every evening the mechanized tune floats its way past my window. I can’t figure out the melody—is it “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”? Dave and Wendy thought it was "Maple Leaf Rag." Does anyone know or have a guess? I remember that in Takayama, every day around dusk, I could hear the Yaki-imo man calling from his wooden cart. It was sort of a song, or an intonation, something about grilled sweet potatoes, steaming and delicious and fresh. That sound, mixed with incense on the air and the evening bells (I lived adjacent to a Shinto shrine) is one of my strongest memories of daily life in Japan.