One door, closing;
one attitude, hardening:
a cultivated coldness.
Distance and camouflage;
resistance and cover:
a ‘calculated cruelty’.*
6.00 am: I needed to eek out the day as much work-time as it offered. There was admin to complete, letters to read, the remainder of the reports to be written, marks to be assembled, and some thoughts to be ‘penned’ in my private diary for Amy. But I was getting there:
The wood pigeons cooed in the trees beyond my study window. The ordinariness of life is something to be treasured. 9.00 am: When either or both my sons return home, we enjoy a full breakfast at a local purveyor on their last day:
I’m a man of simple tastes. This was delicious. We wandered around town before coming home for a cup of PG Tips and re-engaging with our respective routines for the day.
10.45 am: Pdf-ing reports (pardoning the language). Into my inbox over the past few weeks have poured forlorn letters from online companies, arising the latest data protection legislation, either enticing me keep up my mail-shot membership or else saying a sad farewell to me when I’ve not responded to their entreaties. Frustrating as it is to delete them on arrival, at least I won’t be bothered by so much spam in the future. It’s been a season of goodbyes (present and prospective), departures, removals, and partings of the way in both my professional and personal life:
a time to pluck up that which is planted … a time to break down … a time to weep … a time to mourn … a time to cast away stones … a time to refrain from embracing … a time to lose … a time to cast away … a time to rend … a time to keep silence (Ecclesiastes 3: 1–8).
There’ll be students who will never again be under my tutelage, family members whom I’ll probably never see again, and friends and acquaintances who have either journeyed beyond this world or else have been, of necessity, placed outside my sphere of contact.
12.20 pm: A ‘Goodbye!’ to my son, for now:
Losses need to be compensated by gains, otherwise one’s life is progressively diminished. No one who has genuinely meant something to you can be replaced or substituted. But new friendships and relationships can be established; new habits of mind and routines, forged; and old, unproductive, and destructive connections discarded.
12.30 pm: A trés light lunch before returning to my study. The wall is built by the accumulation of little bricks. On to the Vocational Practice mark sheet. This is finicky and complicated work, requiring an effective equation and a sturdy calculator. As always, Mr Iliff (the project tutor) had encouraged solid thinking about website design, and written encouraging and insightful reports on the same:
From mid afternoon to the end of the working day, I continued marking those Vocational Practice reports on Assessment Observations, which had been submitted early. In between, I read through my Diary for late August 2017: the period before ‘first contact’ and to which I need, now, return, in order to pick up some of the threads of my prior life.
5.10 pm: ‘Press ESC!’
Relic: Sarah’s ‘Trust God’, green plastic
* For Amy Seed