Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Salt of the swamp

With so much aswirl around me, it seems silly to say that this one little pair of jars makes me happy.

But they do.  They're my "new" salt and pepper shakers, made one quiet morning after the kids had cartwheeled out the door, transforming the house from an arcade machine full of bouncing, yelling, fast-moving objects into one of sudden stillness.

The boys headed out the door, and I drank my coffee in tranquility.  And then I got out a hammer, a scrap piece of wood, and some nails, and I punched holes in some spare canning lids to make my new salt and pepper shakers.  These will replace a pair of shakers I'd bought several years ago for a quarter, but that somehow got smashed.  (In myhouse?  Imagine that!)

Much of the time this semester, I am deliberately focused on the tunnel of events in front of me.  There is paperwork, and teaching, and meetings, and more paperwork.  I seldom get to step back and see the landscape that shapes the geography of these activities; instead I march forward from each mountain of paper to each marsh of bureaucracy, following the trail blazed in my organizational calendar.

Yesterday, I got an email from a student of mine.  She's struggling a bit in my class, finding calculus to be a struggle after many years away from math, but she's working very hard, never giving up.  I'd stopped to talk to her on my way home from work, telling her how proud I was of her persistence and how much I enjoy having her in my class.  In her email, my student said
It means a lot to have a professor who takes an interest in her students outside of the classroom and it means even more to me coming from a person who is guiding me through my most difficult subject. In today's world people are so rushed that we forget about kindness . . . 
And this was a ray of sunshine bursting through the leaves of my e-forest.  I am much too mired in the swamp to be the salt of the world.  But even so, I can be the salt of the swamp.  

1 comment:

  1. I had a professor give me some extra help too, and it meant the world to me. Keep up the good work, Ms Salt of the Swamp!