Monday, December 10, 2007

freeing the elephants

I was just at yet another wonderful U of T celebration - my, those folks know how to celebrate. Tonight was awards night, plaques given to the best teachers in Continuing Studies. A fascinating woman who teaches Communications accepted her award with a story about how elephants are trained: they are tethered by a piece of string when they're very young, and by the time they're a year old, the string can be removed but the beast stays within the same range.

Trained elephant that I am, stomping the same old ground, I take inspiration from my students, who amaze me with their courage. Each class, someone takes a swan dive from a cliff - perhaps terrified, but soaring out and down to a safe landing. Well, relatively safe.

My trip to Vancouver was glorious. When the sun is shining, there is nowhere in the world as beautiful. I kept saying to myself, "Why did I move away, exactly?" Mountains, sky, sun, sea. Luckily there were two days of dark sleet to remind me of the other side. The Book Fair was a pleasant event, well-attended, and I loved visiting old friends from the days when I lived on East Broadway, in a tiny attic apartment with a million-dollar view.

Now teaching is over for the term; time to get on with my own swan dives. Time to march this body right out into new territory. I wish you all a joyful holiday season, more love than you can handle, and a sudden sensation of freedom in the region of your ankle.