This spring I’m on sabbatical. It’s my second, and I continue to have mixed feelings about it. Especially during finals week, when my charming students are their most charming, fussing mildly about whether or not I’ll be at graduation. This sort of thing compounds my regret. That, and I really miss teaching.
But I’m going on an adventure. It’s not a literal journey–that was last weekend, when I dragged everyone out of bed at 5:00 on a Saturday to drive three hours in to the desert to see the Superbloom at Anza-Borrego State Park. I’m often kicking my family into that sort of adventure. Let’s drive a thousand miles to Yellowstone! Let’s take a train to Seattle! They’re lucky this weekend was only a day trip. But it was beautiful. We took lots of pictures, and we took a long look at what happens when the best circumstances happen in the least likely of places.
My sabbatical will not be that kind of adventure, though. I’m not going to London to work in the British Library or to Paris to look at Unicorn tapestries, or even on a journey to the Lonely Mountain, like Bilbo Baggins, whose quote I stole for my title. I’m going on an entirely mental adventure; the farthest I’m planning on is a café with wifi and good tea, and maybe a library or two.
I’m starting by giving myself the gift of reading some books I’ve been putting off. It is the eternal plight of the English major never to have enough time to read what we want to. I do have the enviable position of assigning books I want to read for class, but that does take away a little bit of the self-indulgent delight of reading something just because it’s cool. On my bookshelf next to the comfy chair, there is a modest pile that will prime the pump, as it were, and put me in the mood for writing my own fiction.
Then the real adventure begins. I have great plans. Finish one book, write supplementary teaching materials and a book proposal, and start the reading and drafting for the next one. It’s a good time to start a new project, what with the world waking up and showing its most brilliant colors and tempting us to believe things can be more beautiful than ever we thought. I hope it inspires you to do something brave too! Happy Spring!