Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I Teach in the Key of Rock

I’m settling into my new office. This also means I’m settling into the idea of having an office, not a cubicle or a choice table near an electrical outlet at a coffee shop.
In my office, I'm using as a bookend this rock I collected on my last hike in Utah. I should write a little song about it. It would start something like this: I hiked at Albion Basin/ with Harmony, Johnny, and Jason…” After a view of Mt. Timpanogos from the seam of Alta and Snowbird ski resorts, I swiped a light pink jagged rock (granite?) and this speckled egg and stashed them in my tiny pack.
A velociraptor (or maybe Benjamin’s dream bird, boredom, mentioned in my post a couple of days ago) might hatch some day when I’m grading papers or typing up a handout.
“Stones” and “bread” are stashed in the same file folder in my mind, in part because of the Sermon on the Mount (“what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?”) and also because of an essay by Anne Carson about the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. “Stones” and “loves” are the ring and echo of the same bell.
Sometimes I look at this rock and think it’s moldy prehistoric bocce ball bread.
Speaking of moldy:
I’m trying to leave my office door open as much as I can (unless I really need to concentrate on reading, and then I just have to close the door). One of my fellow teachers, a fine poet, stopped by my office yesterday. We talked about a cat I might adopt. Then from the depths of her bag she pulled out a shriveled, blackened ghost of a banana, fringed with gray fur. It was a brittle, singed finger from the underworld. It was a snack she forgot in April that sat in her teaching bag all summer.
“It’s post-rotten,” I said.
It’s a symbol of what teaching can do, we decided. Right now we’re taut, yellow fruit, no, we’re green and just beginning to ripen. But by the end of the spring semester? Yikes.
In other news, I got two gigantic wasp stings this afternoon on my way to sharing some pizza in the garden.
And a dozen shirtless undergraduate guys and a few women in sports bras ran full speed in the loop around campus. Like goats in an old world village, the runners for a moment took over. I had to stop my car to let them pass, and I more astonished and tickled than annoyed.
I hear the double rainbow guy on youtube: what does it mean?

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