In September the birds were quiet . . .
I took my composition students outside this evening. We sat in a stand of pines, and I made them write. In particular, they had to write a description of their surroundings using only the sense of sound. It is a tough exercise. As I sat, listening, I noticed that I couldn't hear any birds. Not a crow. Not a woodpecker. Nothing. Just like Dillard. Two days from the start of September, the birds were quiet.
Sorry for my absence yesterday. I was dealing with some stuff. Just before I left work yesterday, I got an e-mail from a colleague at the university, She told me that all department heads at the school received an order from administration to eliminate all contingent and adjunct instructors at the beginning of next semester. That would mean that, after 20-plus years of teaching for the English Department, I would be filing for unemployment instead of printing out syllabi this coming January.
I was not in a good mood last night. Now, of course, there are all kinds of rumors flying around campus. This is what I know for sure: departments heads were indeed instructed to cut all contingents and adjuncts next semester, or find alternate sources of funding for them. Also, the head of the faculty union sent out a campus-wide e-mail stating that no such dictum was issued by administration. Finally, after getting a promotion following nearly two decades of teaching, I may or may not have a job in a few months.
Needless to say, I didn't feel like sharing any thoughts at the end of the day. If I had shared what was on my mind, I would probably have offended a few of my readers. (I sent one e-mail last night that contained no less than 15 variations of the word "fuck.") Thus, I took the night off.
I am no longer in a state of profane pissed-offness. Things aren't quite as certain. I've heard many conflicting stories today. So, I am not going to allow my life to be ruled by rumor and conjecture. I have a job now, and I will do the best I can to teach my students important lessons.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that, this September, the birds on campus are singing. A lot.
Saint Marty is choosing to ignore the birds until, like an Alfred Hitchcock movie, they are ready to peck my face off.