The first of three alarms would blare at 5:30 a.m., with back-ups set for 5:34 and 5:36, respectively. (I learned after the first couple weeks of waking up to check that I hadn’t slept through the alarm six times a night, that I needed multiple for piece of mind.)
After sleep-walking through my toilette–clothes and shoes laid out in the bathroom the night before–I would pad through the dark trying not to wake Mr. T. I took even more care not to disturb Goliath, who if roused, would pace and certainly interrupt T’s beauty sleep.
True alertness only came as I ground beans for The Life Force, already measured out in the grinder the night previous. Then it was time to adorn the overnight oats with fruit, pack up the pre-made lunch, and if I was feeling extreme meal prep prowess that week, flick on the crockpot.
By 6:13, I packed the car, turned on Waze, and if all was well, would be backing down the driveway by 6:15, 6:18 at the latest. In the Fall semester, I knew I was on track if I was watching the sun rise over the orchards in Marysville.
A good day would mean claiming my end parking spot in the garage by 7:55.
T: “You’re going to be wisty on the drive, aren’t you?”
Me: [Eye roll.]
I was heading out the door to pick up my mom’s SUV, which she graciously lent me so that I could fetch the remains of my office at Chico State. (I learned when packing up in May that my mini-fridge wasn’t mini-enough to fit in a little compact.)
I left for my last work-related drive to Chico mid-morning, wielding a giant (to me) mobile through the two-lanes and orchards, watching the summer fruit harvest in full swing.
At a stoplight, behind a long line of rock trucks and orchard machinery, I texted T: “No wist here!”
No, that would come later.
Then I marveled at accomplishing a full cycle of driving through the trees, remembering the previous year’s harvest, fall chores, winter pruning, spring buds and blooms. And all the tractors, trailers, and old farm trucks that got in my way!
Awhile later in Chico, I turned over keys and equipment, picked up tenure binders, loaded the fridge, lunched with a dear friend, and snapped my last picture of Big Chico Creek.
I texted T: “A little wisty” to which he replied “I knew it!”
Although I’m SO excited about my next adventure*, walking away from the campus where I spent my first year as a tenure track professor felt unaccountably sad. While I won’t miss 5:30 a.m. alarms, and I certainly won’t mourn the loss of my 186-mile round trip commute, I’m definitely wistful about leaving a gorgeous campus full of good friends and colleagues. Le sigh.
* Life isn’t all wisty, of course. At the end of the month, I start a tenure track gig at my beloved Sacramento State! SQUEAL!