After being away from campus awhile, I sense something different this week--not just the rhythmic buzzing of cicadas in the trees or the aroma of floor wax in my building but a quality sorely lacking for far too long. Feels like hope.
I hear it in a subtle shift in expression, from "If things ever improve" to "After we get past this rough spot," and I feel it in a new willingness to discuss bold plans for the future. For too long the future has been huddling in the dark with its thumb in its mouth or looming like a meteor about to strike, but suddenly colleagues are speaking about the future as if it's the Wells Fargo wagon delivering a long-awaited shipment of trombones.
What has changed? A few small things I can't talk about yet and one great big thing that's public news: We have a new president! He won't officially take office for another month and many of us know him only from the press release (here), but somehow his hiring has opened the door for hope.
What a relief! We're all aware that recovering from our budget crunch will require a lot of hard work and sacrifice, but a diet of despair is insufficient to sustain such efforts. Give me hope! A niggling voice in the back of my mind warns that this could be false hope, a glimmering mirage designed to inspire us to keep running blindly on the same old hamster wheel, but someone needs to shush that voice. Instead, listen to the trombones! Aren't they glorious?