That's the first thing that pops into my head as I think back about last week. When we got back, I asked each participant to reflect on their own personal journey and share it with me. What I got back was always inspiring and sometimes quite profound. Patty with a "y" sent me a note saying it was my turn and that seems fair. So here goes.
Harry Chapin was a great songwriter and singer that died too young. He wrote songs about his life, his family, his friends, and one of my favorites is "Circle," with the line,
All my life's a circle;
Sunrise and sundown;
Moon rolls thru the nighttime;
Till the daybreak comes around.
All my life's a circle;
But I can't tell you why;
Season's spinning round again;
The years keep rollin' by.
If you don't know the song, here's a link to a video of him singing it. "Circle," by Harry Chapin
The "circle of life" is certainly true. (Now I've got Elton John's "Circle of Life," from the Lion King stuck in my head) But, after last week, the wonderful imagery that Chapin creates in his song seems wrong to me. In the biggest sense of the word, life may be a circle, but on a smaller scale, life is a parabola with all of its ups and downs. The problem is that if I said to someone today, "All my life is a parabola!" they would have no idea about what I meant. For that, I blame Harry Chapin and all of the songwriters out there. I mean, what the hell rhymes with "parabola?"
So here are all the ups and downs from my week.
STS-135 Crew Return - up
Professional development workshop - up
Sailing - up
Test Readiness Safety Review - up
Day 1 flight - up
Everything breaking during Day 1 flight - up
Fixing everything before Day 2 flight - up
Day 2 flight - up
Unloading the first experiments and loading the next batch - up
Day 3 morning flight - up
Lunch spent fixing everything from the morning flight - up
Day 3 afternoon flight - up
Last day presentations - up
Watching teams work harder than they ever had - up
The looks of wonder and joy as people around me floated - priceless
Hmmmm, all "up" so far, here are a few "downs."
The evening after my first flight because I took too high of a dose of the anti-nausea medicine - down
The bruise on my hip from when I landed on the accelerometer box at 1.8g - down
The flight home, one long boring flight at precisely 1g - down
Trying to catch up on all the email when I got home - down (but almost done)
That's it. Been back three days and each day I'm slowly catching up on my sleep, getting back into the swing of things in the lab, working on my budgets, planning the classroom evaluation portion of last week, and getting ready for our Fall activities.
Best I can tell, it's all pointing back up again.