About a month ago, the clean, clear winter light of cold skies and January resolutions graciously withdrew, and in its place stole the soft, liquid gold that makes things grow. Green things now are pushing their way from ground and branch, the river’s blues overlay its grays, and bricks turn warm to the touch. In the afternoon, the light pulses through thick showers of leaves and pollen tossed from outstretched oaks; in the evening, it beams through their branches, turning the gray moss gold.
This week I typed an end-of-third-quarter email to all my students. I notified them that their grades were finalized; I summarized the past quarter; I wished them a happy spring break; I thanked them for their efforts; and I told them “Good work!” for another quarter well completed.
And I wondered: in that “Good work,” what did I really communicate?
Christmas is ended, all twelve days. The postman may still drop a few belated Christmas cards into the box; mothers will continue dusting stray pine needles from mantlepieces and floorboards; unseasonably disciplined children will ration out to themselves the last candy canes and chocolate Santas. But in the churches, we will lay aside till next year the passages about shepherds watching, angels appearing, Mary treasuring. And in the schools, we will turn resolutely to the inexorable Second Semester.