Posted by: codecalla | August 13, 2013


Seascape, 1879

(taken from

My favorite painting by Renoir was called “The Wave”.  I remember seeing it at the Chicago Museum in college and being swept away by it.  The colors filled my senses with peace.  I wrote a critical evaluation of “The Wave” for a freshman Introduction to Art class, but I’ve always remembered the painting itself.

When I feel as if I am overwhelmed by responsibilities, the crush of the new semester, the weight of student expectations, struggles, and triumphs, I find myself wanting to return to that painting.  Ebb and flow.

Teaching is similar, especially for longer classes.  The energy reaches its peak and winds down again; it returns in waves.  Sometimes it scatters ideas, and other times, it creates a new vision of the world.

It’s been an exhausting day, with a four-hour course (with numerous breaks), and fighting the students’ natural desire to unwind and withdraw.  Reading those energies, committing my own to the success of the students, it feels as if I’m fighting “The Wave,” when I should be following it naturally.  How much energy do we waste when the natural energies can direct us in a far better fashion?

Writing is similar, especially when the passion for the project ebbs and flows.  Reminding myself why I love writing is a way to recharge the energies of the wave and play in the surf.  I want to roll around in the colors and coast to the shore.  I want to be surrounded by the water, embraced, soothed, calmed, and finally reborn.

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