But what if I fail of my purpose here?
It is but to keep the nerves at strain,
To dry one's eyes and laugh at a fall,
And, baffled, get up and begin again,—
So the chase takes up one's life, that's all.
-Robert Browning, from "Life in a Love"
This morning I did what I always do on the first day of school: I carefully pack my bags and begin again. I like the slow puttering of packing a bag, checking to see I have everything I need (and really, much that I don't). I like the addition of new notebooks and pens, balls made completely of sea green rubber bands, binder clips, granola bars, a coffee mug that's bumpy exterior reminds me of Mr. Peanut. I like the "everything in its place" moment of packing a bag because with me, that only lasts a short bit as the frazzled days of mid and late quarter offer bags crammed, stuffed, and jumbled. Tomorrow I'll pack carefully again, this time for the first day of teaching in the new quarter, and it will be just as exciting, and I will be just as forgetful, arriving at school with my "perfect" bag, slightly imperfect, as I always, no matter how detailed the list, forget something important. Whatever the case, I'm slowing down a bit to enjoy the beginning, to breathe deeply, to try to remember that it's just the start, and in the start of it, anything is possible.