We end as we began, with Thomas Cole and a little uncertainty, now that our voyager has concluded her journey and it is time to call done-zo on this sabbatical.
Like its start, the end is hard to timestamp. I have successfully avoided work and research and writing and most email for a whole week of “vacation” in an attempt to separate Sabbatical-land from Workville. My new contract officially commenced on Aug. 1 but that was a Saturday, which hardly counts. I am headed to campus, and work, for real tomorrow, Monday morning, in stockings and a dress and heels with a two-hour meeting on the calendar and buckets of email in my inbox. That will definitely be Back At Work, which must mean Sabbatical Is Over.
Except that sabbatical activities are not all completely concluded. In particular, manuscript/book stuff (and the inevitable screenplay, Hollywood bidding war, massive over budget film version, awards season, yadda yadda yadda) will ooze into life as a dean at my university. The benefits of all the different pursuits of these months will linger on as well. Probably the general sense of calm will ease away pretty fast, like novocaine from a visit to the dentist. But the impact of all the travel, workshops, symposia, reading and writing, no doubt will last much longer; I probably only have a slight idea of what they all mean to me at this point. So while it’s the end of one journey, it’s also the start of another. I guess we should see the Cole cycle as that, returning back on itself to start anew.
And, speaking of that cycle thing: although I am heading back to campus with great anticipation for what’s in store, and more energy than I’ve had for a few years, I’ve already commenced counting down the months until I’m eligible for the next sabbatical–a superb gift in the voyage of academic life.