Saturday, June 06, 2009


Today was COA's graduation. And yesterday was our honors/awards ceremony. Both were very nice, as usual. And as usual, it is a time of joy, melancholy, and mixed emotions.

It is, of course, wonderful beyond words to see students graduate, meet families, and offer congratulations. This year there is an especially strong cohort of math and physics students, many of whom I have done independent studies and small research projects with, and who have served as TAs in my classes. So in some ways it seems as if I am losing some colleagues and comrades.

The weather the entire week has been fantastic: warm and green and sunny. Aside from the bugs, it's almost paradise. Today was especially nice. The afternoon was perfect and after the sun set there was a breathtaking moonrise over the mountains.

It is sad to see students go, but it is time. New students will arrive in the fall, and the cycle begins anew. Academic life is cyclical, but it is as if the seasons are backwards. Fall seems like spring, as the academic year begins again with promises of renewal. The summer is more like winter, a dormant and restful time. The quiet on campus is striking the first week after graduation, as if the leaves have just fallen from the trees.

So another year has passed, my eleventh at COA. Another group of students has graduated. The summer now opens up before us, lonely but filled with warmth and quiet promise.