Friday, January 08, 2010


I wonder if the acupuncture addiction treatment that Madcap was talking about could cure whatever keeps drawing me back to the ivory tower. She gave me a belly-laugh today, with a devilish edge to it. Please do go look at her definition of fundament. (Yes, before you read the rest of this.)

I just checked Merriam Webster online, and found her definition under #2, but #1 is intriguing: "an underlying ground, theory, or principle" - and oh, #3 could get me going: "the part of a land surface that has not been altered by human activities."

I am back home on the farm, for now at least, but my perceptual apparatus is tuned to the academic, the literary, the textual.

"Dirt is so 20th century," declares the slogan on the box Mom and Dad brought back from the city yesterday. I declared that I could write a deep analytical essay about all the societal attitudes and assumptions wrapped up in that slogan. Inside the box is Mom's Christmas present, an AeroGarden. I have been teasing her mercilessly, but I can appreciate her desire to have "her own" lettuce in February. And maybe the saving in trips to the grocery store in town would justify the spending on plastic baglet strips of precisely formed nutrient pellets. I just think I would rather use dirt, thanks.

Not that I have ever actually gotten around to it.

I was getting closer, when I (well, we) got those big windows put in. All I had to do was to get the construction debris out from under them and a shelf of pots in its place. Even one little shelf. Or table or stack of boxes or board on sawhorses or whatever. Something to hold the dear little green things (and their pots of dirt) up in the sunlight.

But now the sunny house is sheltering my kids and their father while I wander forth and not quite back, forth to further schooling, and now back to school-bus driving and seeking more lucrative short-term endeavours as a way of hovering nearby to be a little more present for those kids. Most dear, they are, and not nearly so little, but still needing me a bit closer for a while, or so I like to think.

I have been "home" since Christmas, all for the sake of the kids, but so far I have spent very little time with them. When I am not driving the school bus (cancelled for today because of the windchill), or chasing leads on employment and accommodations in town (closer to the kids), or attempting to impose some order on the debris of piles and boxes that one might (mistakenly) represent as my "roots" (though I would sure like to put them securely down somewhere), I am reading and musing and catching myself staring at some little phrase that captures my mind. Or sometimes I am just staring out the window at the sparkling frost on the winter-dried native grasses and wildflowers standing up through the snow. And thinking about something entirely different. I am sure it was a thesis topic, a fine one, but it's gone now.

There will be another. Or the same one disguised in another grand-sounding phrasing.

Yes, I am thinking theses. Further degrees. Yes, I am actually thinking about a PhD.

Of course, I am aware of the clever little wordplay that starts with a barnyard interpretation of the initials B.S. (ignoring the "c" in my B.Sc.), proceeds through M.S. (more, and never mind that mine was an M.A.) and concludes with the initials for "Pile Higher and Deeper."

Manure is good.

Although maybe not so good when too much of it is piled up in one place . . .


Madcap said...

You must be sending really strong PhD vibes out, because I've been thinking the same thing! But I've got a LOT farther to go than you do. Not even really sure that I want it, but it's never occurred to me before as even a possibility.

I'm glad you're near the kids. Just a few more years, and it's worth it.

I've been thinking about doing a distance program with Athabasca University, something I could do a course or two at a time. Anything similar in your field?

Good to see you writing again!

CG said...

those kids do really need you . . . and always will no matter what their ages.

arcolaura said...

Madcap - it is surely a possibility. You have the curiosity, the independent thought, the writing talent, the staying power... but of course that question of whether you want it is critical. I am not sure for myself either. Hard to say whether there are distance ed options in my field when I'm not even sure what my field is! At the graduate level one can shift a bit. I am looking at adult education, and sociology... Actually I hadn't thought about looking for a distance option. I think partly I want to get some distance from here! Which tells me right away that I need to look inward and figure out why I suddenly want to leave the place where, for so many years, I was so determined to stay...

This afternoon I picked up James in town and brought him out to the farm to play in "the great big snowbanks." We have called them that each year since I was younger than he is now. He and I dug caves in the low side of the banks and then went on top and dug down and built snow block walls until it was hard to climb out, and then dug a tunnel entrance to our castle. I will try to get pictures tomorrow.

CG - On the whole I have tried to raise them not to need me, but while I am in this world, they do need to know that they are important to me. And it's nice to be reminded that I really am important to them - thanks.