Today's Sunday Scribblings, asking us to write about "the last hour," could be an invitation to get really philosophical or apocalyptic. Like, if you knew you had a just an hour to live, what would you do in "the last hour"? But it's also an opportunity to be quite literal and that is what I am choosing for today because in the last hour I finished grading term papers. Therefore, in the last hour, as anyone who has ever taught an essay-based course will attest, I have been set free.
Like Descartes looking to break out of his dogmatic slumber, I sat by the fire on this cold winter day with the last of the term papers of the academic year. Unlike Descartes, I was experimenting for the first time with on-line submissions. No paper. Just my trusty laptop, a reliable website to download students' papers from, and Word's wonderful "track changes" function. The experiment worked. So, in the last hour I have decided that the e-submission, e-return is the way to go. In the last hour I have also had a most luxurious cup of masala rooibos chai with soy milk, eaten two handfuls of giant cashews mixed with raisins, and fended off a late-afternoon nap (which I fully plan to take in the next hour).
In the last hour, I stayed fully focused in the moment, doing exactly what was in front of me and nothing else. Nothing else (other than sipping the tea). It was a good hour. But probably not what I would choose if I thought, even for a slim minute, that it was going to be my very last hour.