Monday, June 23, 2008

Winding up the month

'feeling a bit melancholy today.

DSC08458 The situation at work has been a difficult one. Because the facility will certainly be closed, people are losing belief in the future and in the value in what they are doing. As the same time, no positive alternatives can be started because the Social Plan needs to be negotiated first (and rightly). It leads to a tilted sort of twilight environment where there are no 'right' actions: unable to move forward, back, left or right for the time being, people simply lose motivation and worry about what will happen next.

In this environment patience and watchful waiting are called for. 'not my strong suit: I am more action-oriented: try something, learn from it, stay flexible, take advantage of opportunities. I need more 'zen' to see me through this.

As a result, I've stepped away to re-engage with things outside of work. I've visited my parents, went back to Seattle for a week, had my son here for a long visit. My student's thesis got finished, along with a couple of papers that I was writing. I took a bit of vacation.

Everywhere, I'm finding that it's a time of transitions. My daughter has graduated and is out the door to college in a few weeks; my son leaves for the Air Force on Sunday. I had a good, fatherly talk with both, catching up with what they are doing and reminding them to stay true to their values and ambitions. They need to keep a sane center no matter how confused things and people get around them.

And then it's a hug and a handshake and 'good luck and keep in touch', then they're gone. Particularly with my son this weekend, it feels like 21 years are drawing to a close, and I'm not even sure when or how I'll see him again.

DSC08685 We had a good dinner together in Dusseldorf to celebrate his 21st birthday with good German beer and steaks. Brave Dutch fans dressed up in orange and paraded through the German streets; we hurried back to the Netherlands to watch football in the packed Arnhem Korenmarkt venue again. the crowd took wild swings: elation at the start, depression towards the end, jubilant frenzy when they were back in the match, despondency when they lost. It's sad: They all hug and sway and sing melancholy songs together when it's over. I've left the Dutch flag up inside my car, but certainly within a day or two, the oranje is disappearing from windows and buildings here.

DSC08686 I returned from dropping Will at the airport to find a couple of inches of green leaves covering all of the roads, and the street filled with neighbors talking and taking pictures. While I was gone, a weather burst blasted through the area near Sonsbeeck, with hail denting cars and breaking windshields, stripping leaves and knocking down a tree across the street. It seems to have been very local: across town there is no damage. I wonder if it was a small tornado: the patterns of damage look a lot like what I remember from the Midwest.

None of it lightens my mood.

I'm off to England tomorrow for my student's thesis defense. Beyond that, July feels like a clean-up month, writing papers and patents, finishing data analysis and closing up the projects.

Then it's onward to whatever lies next. 'Evermore true, this month, for all of us.


Textual Healer said...

It was quite local - I was down in Tilburg for the afternoon - had some very strong gusts of wind for an hour so but hardly a drop of rain. I came back and found leaves and branches all over the place in Wageningen and again today in Doorwerth.

Hope that the current picks up again soon. Sometimes the waiting periods can be frustrating, especially when you can't quite see how things are going to get lifted up again. Its a bit like being a branch jammed in a stream or pond thats not got enough power to carry you along any further. You go round and round and can;''t see a way out. But then another storm far away brings the water to lift and carry you on to your next destination - often at a far quicker pace than you feel comfortable with (a bit like riding through Roma at 80kpm).

Dave Hampton said...

Thanks for your thoughts: they mean a lot and I've taken the hopes behind them to heart. I'll really be settling in this month to close up and move on, and I'll feel better when the future seems better formed and there is something clear to get excited about again.

I feel like I'm able to work some things through here, then to put them behind me once I understand the motivations and feelings. Still, it's a process, and I appreciate the encouragement along the way.