I have not posted here nor have I baked cookies since June, and the last batch I baked I have yet to write about, although I planned to do so early in July, but … truth is? On the 1st of July we embarked on a ten-day trip through Ohio to Michigan and then back home through Ontario, visiting every Great Lake in the process, and throughout, posting my thoughts on cookies was the furthest thing from my mind.
When we returned I worked very hard for two and a half weeks at finishing up a month’s-worth of work and throwing in a whole unexpected, not-required extra, so that I could turn the reins of my job over to a new coordinator, and leave, guilt-free, on another ten-day odyssey through a few more states and two more provinces, and see things like this:
A little over a year ago, a woman I met at a B&B over breakfast upon hearing my brief job-description response to that dreadful and ubiquitous question “what do you do?” (a coordinator for a church’s volunteer tutoring program at an inner city school, in case you didn’t click on that link above entitled “extra” or put two and two together in the past three years and seven months), with suddenly-widened eyes, exclaimed “I love people like you!” and “that is such difficult work!” and “you are wildly undervalued!” with such sincerity and forcefulness that I … well. She knocked me over a bit and I don’t think she knows yet the impact she had on me in that moment and for long after.
I had just days before handed in a reminder to my employers that my three-year contract would end in five months’ time and if I had not met this woman and received that affirmation, that ringing endorsement, I would not have had the grace or wherewithal to step up when the employers did not find a replacement for me five months later, and say, “Ok, so I’ll continue seven months more.”
And I did. I wrecked my ankle but soldiered on, gave up on docent-work because I could not do everything, barely finished my extracurricular studies because I am not superwoman, and worked seven more months. And so when July came, and the school year was done, but the work was not quite yet, I was exhausted. Mind you, I was exhausted last year at that breakfast. I proved it the next day by having one of the most spectacular migraines I have ever had … ever. But I felt doubly exhausted this year. So I stopped writing, stopped baking, stopped pretty much everything but sock-knitting (more on that tomorrow). And I vacated. Blissfully intentionally vacated. Twice. Hiatus. It was very good. Both times.
On my first day of unemployment, whilst walking on a beach so pounded by waves that the sand consisted mostly of pulverized shells, a white disc the size of a nickel caught my eye. I bent to pick it up, sure it was some bit of plastic from a bottle-top, but no. Like a gold star from the ocean, from the earth, from the universe — a tiny fragile sand dollar surrounded by millions of fragments of hundreds of thousands of shells built of sturdier stuff. Whole.