Recharge & Refresh

This is a strange post title for anything that happens in April for an English professor (as April & May, like November & December, are The Months of Interminable Grading), but this has been a good weekend for feeling a little more refreshed. One thing that has contributed to that is the stubbornness of greenery. It’s cold here, still, in Wyoming. We haven’t had lots of snow like certain parts of the Dakotas and Colorado, but it hasn’t been very warm, either. There haven’t been many overt signs of spring from the atmosphere. The ground, though, refuses to be contained: we have a few tulips sneaking up around the front porch, and folks lucky enough to have daffodil bulbs planted are seeing persistent knots of brilliant yellow ringing their steps. The grass is the kind of saturated green that I have missed from the east coast, the kind of color that doesn’t last long here. We’re not really getting leaves on trees, not beyond the limy fuzz of buds, but there’s promise. I’m holding onto that.

There’s been grading, too (there always is), but I also spent an hour this afternoon playing with some Derwent watercolor pencils and a thoroughly ancient set of Prang watercolors. (Yes, I know. We used the exact same sets in middle school. It’s likely that this set came from middle school.) I didn’t turn out anything that I was particularly excited about, particularly because I went into it without any kind of plan, and it’s been so long since I’ve painted that I need some sort of visual reference. Which I didn’t have. None of that is the point. The point is that I was inspired a few days ago by Lavinia Spalding’s book Writing Away. We’re using that book for the travel-writing component of a study-abroad class I’m co-teaching with some colleagues in a few weeks. Spalding talks a great deal about journaling (which I’m not very good at, in any kind of organized way), and she talks a lot about creating pictorial art of varying kinds. I got the itch. I’m now waiting for an Exacompta journal and some other shiny things from Goulet Pens & JetPens.

When those things come in, I’m going to try to have an organized journaling experience, at least in the context of this trip. We’ll see how that turns out.

The other point of it is how excited I am about this trip, now, in this context. It’s not that I wasn’t looking forward to it before; it’s that there’s an anticipation associated with the creation of the artifact around the trip, too. (And it’s not just the anticipation of new stationary fumes, of course, though that’s certainly attractive.)

Hopefully I’ll have some pictures of something sometime soon. Right now, there’s The Fall of Sam Axe and more grading to fill my evening.

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