As happens in academia, March and April are the season where you learn the results of all those grant applications you sent out in November and December. The last time I applied for funding I received nearly every grant that I applied for–a rare thing in History, for sure. But this past grant cycle has been nearly the opposite–the rejections far outweighing the acceptances. Of course it’s to be expected. Of course it doesn’t mean anything about my intrinsic worth as a scholar, but it is…wearying to keep finding all of those skinny envelopes.
So that’s just one reason that some news I received in Friday was extra-exciting, that I was selected as one of the twelve “barn-raisers” for the One Week | One Tool summer institute. I read and re-read that letter, just to make sure that it wasn’t another rejection. And then stomped my feet with glee!
Just shortly after I received that news, we left town for our annual Spring retreat with our Quaker Meeting. We gather in the mountains above Julian, CA, and spend three days strengthening our connections with each other and with our shared values. The setting couldn’t be more idyllic. We made blood-orange marmalade together, cheered the children’s Easter egg hunt, celebrated two friends’ engagement with some sweet champagne, played Eurogames, sipped tea, chased wild turkeys, took naps, wandered the forest dotted with wild daffodils, and ate apple pie. It’s quite different from the Easter celebrations when our kids were younger–there were no pastel dresses or baskets filled with plastic grass. No church choir. No talk of resurrection. After the egg hunt the children continued playing together while the adults sat in a silent circle.
I realized, while I was there, how much I needed time to simply be with my family, my friends, and my self. I needed the time to think and to imagine. I needed to watch the firelight dance. I needed to remember who I am and what I can be.