Thursday, September 13, 2007

and thus yirnez the yere in yisterdayez mony

It's been nippy out these last few days. Not cold, exactly, but you can feel the cold waiting in the shadows when you turn away from the sun.

I have always liked the coming of autumn, even though I know it's completely irrational; when I was a kid, it meant another long dull year in school, and now it means that the flurry of work that comes at the beginning of the semester is about to turn into a snowstorm, and by the end of October I'll be lucky to have a free moment. Besides, I don't like winter very much. But there is something irresistible about that first hint of crispness in the air.

We've been reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in the Brit lit class, and that poem always makes me think about cycles and seasons and the passing of time. One of the nice things about this profession is that there is a well-defined yearly cycle, even if it's a weird backwards cycle where summers are the dormant time and renewal comes in the fall; August and September bring new students, fresh chances to get things right, a bright bundle of promises. That might be one of the reasons why I like this time of year so much -- it reminds me of those first months when I was a freshman in college, reading Shakespeare outdoors under ancient trees and reveling in my newly discovered freedom. Except, of course, I'm not a freshman, and the new crop of freshmen are getting farther and farther from my age every year. When I started teaching they were only six years younger than I was; now it's thirteen and counting. I don't really feel the difference yet, but the chill in the air reminds me that it's there.

More practical and job-market-related posts to come, I'm sure (believe me, I know I've got only one day left before All Hell Breaks Loose on that front), but today I just like having a little time to reflect and a little breathing space.


Bardiac said...

Oh, and Gawain is such a wonder to teach! Reading great lit and getting to talk about it with students! Good times!

Fretful Porpentine said...

Yeah, there's a reason why everyone wants this job. I shall have to remember that.