Gone are the days of “summer vacation,” the merciful cessation of homework and responsibilities. Once that final bell rings on a sticky late-June afternoon, kids bolt out the door, released from their bondage of books, not a second thought to be devoted to learning for the next 6 to 8 weeks. Making a clean break with the world of school work and taking the time to reset the mind, it still seems like an excellent model for preventing stress and burnout when it comes to most jobs. Unfortunately, as we all know, rarely is that the case when the days of grade school are behind us. In fact, my schedule has perversely flip-flopped to the other extreme, and I now find myself mired in the knee-deep sludge of a full-time summer semester. Rather than being kinder and gentler than the usual course load as one might imagine, this intersession study is twice as intense, attempting to pack in the full material of each class in half the normal time allotted. Needless to say, it’s rather demanding.
Already feeling the additional strain, passing the hours studying, writing, and pounding away at the keyboard, it’s easy to lose touch with the outside world. Beautiful clear skies stay safely obscured by the drab white ceiling directly overhead. Sweets remain unphotographed and recipes languish in unsaved files, half-written. All that matters are the quizzes and assignments, discussions and commentary, that all weigh so heavily on my mind. Time stands still, until I finally come to and watch a whole day elapse in just an instant. By then, any number of things could have happened without my conscious knowledge. I got a first-hand example of that when I went to take a sip of my water… and was jolted firmly back into the land of the living by quite a shocking discovery.
Unbeknownst to me, a tiny green frog had taken up residence in my glass while I had been tuned out! Looking quite comfortable perched upon his flat lily pad, bobbing up and down amongst the ice cubes, I can only imagine how long he had been sitting there before I noticed. Enjoying the cool little oasis I had constructed on this hot summer day, he didn’t seem the least be disturbed to have caught my attention, but kindly hopped out as a courtesy to me. Such a thoughtful fella, willing to share this treasure he had found without any prompting.
Though still disturbed about where exactly my new friend came from, and how long he intended to stay, I restrained my alarm and resisted the urge to fling him straight out the open window. How could I be so selfish to kick him out into the harsh elements outside when I could just get another glass of water, anyway?
Now staring at me with those dark, thoughtful eyes, possibly waiting to see what my next move would be, I thought it might be best just to get back to work. Clearly, the heat and long hours of study were beginning to get to me. Maybe this is why most kids go on summer vacation.
[Tiny frog pattern by Anna of MochiMochi Land]