Further Musings

Beauty smote his heart, he looked up from the forsaken land & hope returned to him

Archive for July 2010

Excellent New Yorker Article on End of Life Choices

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I just finished this article in this week’s New Yorker titled Letting Go: What should medicine do when it can’t save your life? Certainly worth reading.

It was long, really long (as New Yorker articles are). But as someone who will one day face death and will probably watch many family members face death, the article is a blessing.  As the author notes, you only face death once so it’s an experience for which most families have little preparation.  This article at least gives you a sense for some of the tradeoffs.

Though it’s realistic about dying, the article is not gory.  That said, it can be hard to read as he talks about frankly about losing spouses and loved ones and the choices that they faced.

Written by furthermusings

July 29, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Posted in Reviews

The First of Many Lasts?

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Today marks the end of second summer session here at UNC.  This afternoon I sat in the front of a classroom in Murphey Hall, as I have for many years, watching students scribble away nervously on their final exams.

Near the end of the last hour, when there were only a few students scattered across the classroom, a student in the front row stood up to turn her exam in.  The she got closer to the podium the bigger she swung her arms until she windmilled her exam on the pile with a smack and exclaimed “Finished!  Finished!  Finished! My last exam and I’m free at last!” Tossing her blond hair from side to side she skipped back to her desk.

Turns out she’s a senior who has already graduated and this was her last time in a college classroom.  She and her friend drew apples and books on the board for a while in celebration and finally left arm-in-arm, giggling as they whispered to each other, leaving me and the final two stragglers in the hushed quiet of the classroom.

After the last student turned his exam in, I sat and finished a bit of grading before packing up.  I straightened my papers, erased the board (leaving the silliest bit up with a smile), and then, as I left, I turned around to turn the light off.

I looked back across the tiny bit of celebration and it suddenly occurred to me that this was very likely my last moment in a UNC classroom as well.

I just stood quietly for a second taking in the scene gazing across the oak planks, the empty scattered desks and out the tall ceiling-height windows into the green of the quad.  Six years.  12 classes.  30 sections.  600+ students.

I took a deep breath and felt a little . . . a little I don’t know what . . . then I said a brief goodbye, turned the lights off, and walked back to my office.  And that was very probably the last time I taught students at UNC.

This is the first of many farewells that will come in this year of moving on.  This one was soft and poignant in how it snuck up on me so quietly and so unlooked for on this hot July day in the middle of working on my dissertation.

I’m excited to be graduating.  I’m excited to start a new career.

But all that going requires some leaving.  Just wanted to notice and mark the first bit happened today.

Written by furthermusings

July 23, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Posted in Reflections, UNC


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This black and yellow argiope spider caught my eye this morning as I took the compost out.  It was spinning its web around a squirming June bug this morning amongst the lavender.  It’s amazing to me the diversity of life in our downtown backyard.

For perspective the bug it’s entombing is about the size of a thimble.  Yikes!

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July 19, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Posted in At the House

Community Gardening Rocks

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Reasons I love hosting a community garden:

– other people weed and care for large sections of our yard.

– at least one of our friends show up to our house uninvited almost every night of the week.  They feel comfortable and welcome in our yard.

– our friends get to grow and eat yummy things.

– our friends get to share with the joy of gardening with their friends.

I love having people around and I love receiving and giving the gifts of the garden.

Praise God for a wonderful yard.   Doc did an amazing job building the soil and it’s a joy to watch people use it.

Written by furthermusings

July 13, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Posted in At the House