So I will be taking a year off. My appeals to the university were not heard — at least not in time to go forward on the contract to sell my home. I’ll take one class in the early summer session, and then have the summer off. Then I’ll do some substitute teaching in the fall if I need to.

I know it’s a complete cliche, but this week has been a real journey constantly hurtling through anger, fear, panic, resignation, discovery, joy, and peace. Not necessarily in linear progression, either. But probably impossible without the love and support of so many wonderful people along the way. Thank you all of you. You know who you are.

I’m actually looking forward to having this time to myself. I haven’t really done that since I stayed home for 3 years with Emily. I’m also interested in finding out how simply I can live. It’s a good benchmarking activity before heading down to Mississippi.

For the past 3 or 4 months nearly everyone I know has asked me about what I will miss most when I move to Mississippi. For some reason almost all of them immediately suggest Thai food, though I think the food answer is probably pho. The effect this has had is for me to be very aware of everything around me and to realize I will miss the song sparrow who wakes me every morning with his impossibly complex song, the exact shape of the faucet I chose for my kitchen, the feel of that third curving dip on Cherokee Avenue. So now I have this wonderful opportunity to live a year in a sort of hyperaware state of my surroundings.

It’s a real gift.

So I’ll just follow this year wherever it takes me.