Loud Boiling Test Tubes!

September 3, 2006

Classrooms and labs!
Loud boiling test tubes!
Sing to the Lord a new song!
Athlete and band!
Loud cheering people!
Sing to the Lord a new song!
Herbert Brokering, b. 1926
                  American cleric and peace activist

The rain has stopped. I bought a brass turtle-themed rain gauge in Vermont and put it out last week. The turtles are in a line that appears to be climbing upward. They hold a test tube marked in inches. The test tube isn’t loud, and it hasn’t boiled, but today it did hold four inches since Tuesday, an inch since yesterday. 

We sang the hymn quoted above in my Lutheran congregation this morning, this Sunday before Labor Day. It’s a six-stanza hymn, the kind that can seem to go on forever, but I love it and look forward to it every year. Every sentence ends with an exclamation point, and everything is loud. The stanzas celebrate the universe (“Loud rushing planets!” certainly includes the recently demoted Pluto), weather events (“Hail, wind, and rain! Loud blowing snowstorm!”), music (“Harp, lute, and lyre! Loud humming cellos!”), work (“Limestone and beams! Loud building workers!”), education (“Loud boiling test tubes!”), and the people of God (“Daughter and son! Loud praying members!”). It’s all about taking joy in nature, work, study, and fellowship, and moving together into something new.

For a long time the school where I taught had preparation days for teachers on Monday through Thursday before Labor Day, then Friday and Monday off for a long weekend before we greeted the students on Tuesday. I’m not in the school biz anymore, and most schools bring the kids in before Labor Day anyway now. Lynn started classes while I was still in Vermont, and her boyfriend, now at Bucknell University, has classes tomorrow.

Yet I still look at Labor Day as the start of a new year for me. I’m an independent student now, teaching myself to write fiction through reading, trial and error, completing exercises, and showing my work to tutors. I’ve divided the next months into a fall term, a holiday interim, a winter term, and a spring term. I have reading lists and production goals to take me through Memorial Day. I haven’t planned much for after that — let me see how much progress I actually make. Maybe I’ll rest in June and July, because then it will be August, and Bread Loaf again.

Turtles climbing along inches — a good metaphor for my process.

Love it? Hate it? Just want to say Hi? Leave a comment, or e-mail me:
margaretdeangelis [at] gmail [dot] com (replace the brackets with @ and a period)

This entry was posted in General.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *