I am always glad to be done with an academic year. By the time two semesters are over I am more than tired of hearing the sound of my own voice in 75 to 150 minute installments, I am exhausted from trying to make points that most people couldn't care less about, and I am at the end of my rope hoping to remedy undergraduate prose that would have landed me in D+ territory in 7th grade.
At the end of the academic year I find that I need to find my own bearings again, to live without citing texts and dropping names, to inhabit a world without books, without classrooms, without assignments. I need to touch the earth, to move in the outdoors, to do some bodily labor.
That might explain why my out-and-back trips to get kids from college in DC last week and in central PA this week were completely relaxing. That might explain why I keep finding more things to do in the garden. That might explain why I'm very much looking forward to painting a couple of rooms here week after next and the front porch in a couple of months. It's not that they aren't work. It's that they are activities with a stake and built-in standards of success and failure. They are activities that make a tangible difference in the world. And best of all: they are activities that don't require much clap-trap at all!