October blahs

At dinner one night this week, my friend Susan and I were talking about the October blahs.  I love fall, but about this time of the semester I can start to feel a bit down.

We’ve settled nicely into our routines, but that also means their newness has worn off.  It’s starting to feel cooler, but we’re still experiencing highs in the 80s.  My students, bright-eyed and motivated a few weeks ago, are staring to look glassy-eyed and a more than a bit sleep deprived.

The realization the semester is flying by (week 7 ends today!) makes me melancholy thinking about how quickly my little ones are growing up.

I start fantasizing about being somewhere else.  Abilene is my beloved home and provides a profound sense of rootedness for me, but somedays it feels a little mundane.  Then, a song starts to play on from a random playlist, and I long to be in Oxford; a text pops up from my friend Corey, and I long to be at Disney World. (Of course, most days I wish I could be in both those places…)  Part of that longing is that time doesn’t seem to pass so quickly when we’re elsewhere.  We are more in the moment, enjoying each other as a family, and tuned into our surroundings.

So I’m doing two things.  First I’m looking forward to this weekend.  Tonight we’ll enjoy our Friday-night tradition of homemade pizza and family time.  Tomorrow includes JA’s first rehearsal for her dance Christmas show.  She was old enough this year to audition for a part and gets to be one of the school girls (her first choice).  I’m excited to anticipate that milestone with her.  And tomorrow night, Bill and I are going on a long-overdue date night.  I’m looking forward to a leisurely dinner and uninterrupted conversation.  If it doesn’t rain, we might even head out on an outdoor adventure tomorrow afternoon.

Second, I’ve been thinking about Barbara Brown Taylor’s question “what is saving your life right now?”  (My friends Katie and Shanna both blogged eloquently about this question).  I’m meandering through Taylor’s lovely book An Altar the World: A Geography of Faith where she poses this question and begins to answer it for herself.  I have some good guesses about what is sustaining me right now, but I want to reflect on it a little more before I attempt to answer.  I hope that in answering it I will be better about the exercise of reverence, “the proper attitude of a small and curious human being in a vast and fascinating world of experience” (Taylor 19).  Better at paying attention to the miracles of today.

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