It is the Sunday before my back to work day. I remember the excitement and anxiety of this day when I was still teaching. That week back before the students came was always made up of the thrill and hard work of getting my classroom ready, the enjoyment of seeing fellow staff members and meeting new ones, the challenge of meetings and overstimulation of new policies , programs and might I say some bullshit. There was the burden of balancing home and school ,the sadness of giving up summer and the optimism of new strategies and new convictions(like I’ll make my kids great lunches every day) Those were rewarding times and I always enjoyed them as difficult as they were. I am glad they are behind me but I do know exactly what my daughter in law and friends that are still teaching feel today. But I feel wonderful. I am excited to get back to my office. I can not wait to start writing again. I have the freedom of course to fit my fall chores like pickling and harvesting the garden in to my schedule. I can interrupt my writing with a walk or a swim. I can adjust my hours . I am completely doing what I love and am more than grateful for the opportunity to do it. For the eighth fall I get to do what I waited so many years to do. I am a writer. This morning I received two messages that reminded me of that. I got a lovely message from a reader who is a former student and also a former colleague. She was my student teacher at one time and I used her name in Waiting For Still Water.(Rachel’s grade three teacher) She wrote about how much she enjoyed the book and how honored she was to have been mentioned. I also got a photograph from a friend who bought the book from me at the market yesterday, showing the book , a coffee cup and a beautiful scene in the background showing still water. What a nice gift on this day as I putter away at end of summer chores and preparation of Sunday supper with the anticipation of going back to work tomorrow. Amid the worries and heartaches and challenges of life I get the gift of making stories up in the quiet sanctuary of my imagination and my office.