On the Cusp of Summer

Tonight, the eve before the summer solstice, the last day of spring, gives me pause, and I feel moved to write a kind of post I almost never do (short and not about social software and/or formal learning).


I turned 50 on the spring equinox, a season that draws to a close tonight, and I see it go with mixed feelings. I love the edges of things, the cusps, the beginnings, the openings. Perhaps that explains my near obsession with taking photos of and through windows, to catch the merest whiff of story, of possibility.

It was a season of so many edges, so much time off-kilter, right in the eye of learning’s cycles of disruption and repair. I like being there. It was a season of travel– to Europe and the USA meeting fellow travelers on this journey into 21st-century teaching and learning.


But this spring also marked intense loss for me: it was the season that took my father. Endings.

And now a new opening–summer. And it is a new season for me. Fifty no longer shocks me. My father’s death is no longer news to me every morning. I’ve wrapped up my talk-and-workshop season and am moving into my writing-and-family-traveling season. It is fitting that I am spending this summer solstice in Maine, my father’s soul place, with my mother, airing the house, planting the garden, seeing what has changed about the place since last we were here, remembering the past as we move into this new future.
Tomorrow morning I will get up with the sun (here that means before 4:00 a.m. tomorrow) and see it through the day, ready for summer.



6 Responses

  1. Beautiful.

  2. Short yet, stunning. Beautifully woven.

  3. I too love the cusp, and the thrill of seeing one state from another state, then moving toward and across the boundary–or maybe the word I want isn’t boundary so much as the space that I find, to my surprise, is weirdly shared near the thresholds. Maybe the singular of threshold is always a polite fiction. Every threshold is two.

    What a beautiful post, Barbara. Thank you. I wish we could break bread together this day. And, as the Beach Boys sing, “All Summer Long.”

  4. What lovely comments from you UMW-ers! You do know how to care for your blogging as well as your school community. Again, I am learning from you. Thank you.

    The solstice was quiet here and serene, spring surrendering to summer without complaint. And today it is so still, not a crease wrinkles the back cove; even the osprey are quiet on their nest. A gentle easing into the season, threshold(s) appropriate, I think, for this particular year.

  5. Barbara
    I pulled up your site to show a friend what an artist might do with a blog post. Not knowing what to expect, I read and was litterally stunned by what you wrote. I too lost my dad in November. “My father’s death is no longer news to me every morning.” is one of the most powerful statements I could have read and so close to my own experience. Those were the words that escaped me for so long…too busy I suppose to let the mounful acceptance of loss take root. Thanks for creating a profound moment for me.

  6. Thank you, John, for that comment– hearing from you underscores for me why this kind of more personal blogging is conversation, is connecting in a way that those of us who teach in higher ed don’t often dare do (myself included)– in revealing our own fumbling in the dark to understand the deep learning experiences of life, we leave our safe tower of erudition and dare move our readers and have our readers move us.

    You give me courage to write more of myself.

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