Sunday, December 26, 2010


The park system in our area is called Preservation Parks. I always used to think that the thing being preserved was the land--small bits of it being set aside from the rampant development that appears everywhere north of Columbus.

A farmer friend of ours explained why many of the farms end up as housing developments or strip malls: the farmers here spend a lifetime just getting by, and when retirement age comes, they have the choice of either living on not enough money or selling their land to developers and not worrying about who's going to take care of their financial needs (chief among them being health care). Faced with those options, I'm not sure I would be able to do things any differently than those who sell.

But a couple of families near here were lucky enough (I have no idea how) to be able to donate the land to the Preservation Parks system. And boy am I grateful!

Lately, I have decided that it's more accurate to say that the land is preserving me. We walk out on these trails--most of them easy enough for kids, but if you walk two or three you can usually go for a couple miles--and I am so thankful for the access to woods, and creeks, and fields. I think there's something in me that needs to be with the trees and grass. I'd rather not camp, no (especially at this time of year!). But I need to go walking out there.

(A creek winds through Deer Haven... we must have crossed it at least three times)

The most recent park to open in our system is called Deer Haven; we went for a walk there during Thanksgiving break and I took some photos...

(Even the sidewalk between the parking lot and the nature center has leaf shapes pressed into it... cool!)

(This big old tree was leaking sap...)


(Family plus one, walking quickly because it was chilly, noses running...)

(We kept having weird warm spells in November, but it had finally gotten cold over Thanksgiving--cold enough for us to spot the first ice of the season, a delicate edging around a puddle or two...)

(late fall palette... and an accidental self-portrait... I can't even explain how beautiful these colors are...)

I LOVE this place! I am hoping for a walk again at Deer Haven soon--when it's not quite so cold out as it is today. After a rough end to the semester, the busy-busy of Christmas, and some other unnameable stresses, I feel the need for some preservation.

I hope you find a place near you that soothes your soul!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

No! Sleep!

Til Brooklyn!

This is what I've been thinking of in my head for a week and a half as I face down the last week of classes this semester.

It's a challenging time: the last week of classes means it's time to return all the papers I collected just before & just after Thanksgiving break as well as teach the last few texts of the semester and review for final exams. The committees & groups I'm in are trying to have one last meeting or two before the end of the semester. I've got senior portfolios, and freshman paper revisions come in soon. On the assessment committee we're doing the university writing assessment (part one earlier this evening, part two next week, both multi-hour meetings).

Add to that a partner whose final exams have been moved up this year so that we're both super-pressed for time at the same time. PLUS Christmas--shopping, planning, concerts and rehearsals for the boy...

It's all a bit overwhelming! Not necessarily in a bad way, of course--I'm proud of Dexter, and the Christmas songs are wonderful to hear, and I'm excited to be finishing the work of teaching a class (or three), and it'll be good for Patrick not to have exam week hanging over him during the break. It's just a bit much when it all comes at once.

So I haven't been sleeping as much as I need to. Thus the Beastie Boys, shout-singing with me:




(Brooklyn being a metaphor here for the Promised Land of the day grades are turned in? Whatever it stands for, it feels right.)

I posted this video on my FB status today (and I actually get a kick out of it, but only if I overlook the silver-bikini-clad dancer). Other songs that have been appearing in the playlist: "I'm a Survivor" (by Destiny's Child) and "2 Legit 2 Quit" (by M.C. Hammer).

I've never owned any of these songs, so I have no idea why they're coming to me, but I'm grateful. Their inspiring and affirming choruses have been drifting into my consciousness, lending me a little boost, I think. Thank goodness! Plus I'm a sucker for a good beat. (Does anyone else out there remember American Bandstand?)

Hope you're getting some good sleep this week.

Sweet dreams,