Tuesday, March 4, 2008

spring break

To some people spring break means road trips to beaches or other exotic climes. Spring break means about the same thing to me as a professor as it did when I was a student -- time to get caught up on long term projects that get lost in the welter of week to week responsibilities. It has never really meant "vacation" to me, just a time to breathe a little more freely and get caught up.

However, I promised myself that I would at least spend some of the week outdoors. Yesterday was perfect. It was in the sixties by ten AM (got into the low seventies by late afternoon). So Rosie dog and I spent most of the morning in the yard. I did the heavy lifting and she did the supervision. [She had to make sure that I wasn't eaten by the rake which she is convinced has evil designs on us.]

A while back my husband used his GPS device to map out a quarter mile course through our neighborhood, about a third of which runs around our own yard. He uses it both for running and for vigorous dog walking. With warmer temperatures and rain, parts of the track have gotten very muddy. This does not seem to bother either John or Rosie, but I'm not fond of the mud they track into the house.

My task yesterday was to haul bags of sand and gravel to some of the worst sections of the trail and lay down a 18" pathway. It was the most physical activity I've had in a long time -- I have both osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis on top of asthma that is aggravated by cold weather -- and it really felt good to use all my major muscles and work up a sweat. I didn't cover a lot of ground, but I did get some of the very worst areas of the trail, and there was a lot less mud at the end of the day.

Afterwards Rosie and I sprawled for a while in the sun on the back patio and enjoyed the sensation of being almost too warm. There was lots of interesting bird activity to hear. One large black bird staked a claim at the top of the neighbors giant tulip poplar and announced himself to the world. Unfortunately the lovely bird sounds did have to compete with the sounds of the drag line and other heavy equipment on the strip mine on the other side of our hill.

Today it's raining (but still nice and warm), so I'm back at the computer. But at least I'm writing for myself instead of grading papers -- for the moment! Also I can enjoy the view from my home office window, which includes some hints of yellow forsythia just beginning to bloom on the opposite hillside.

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