Paris in March: this sabbatical's beginnings

  Cafe Marly at the Louvre by  Herry Lawford on flickr  by  Creative Commons license .

Cafe Marly at the Louvre by Herry Lawford on flickr by Creative Commons license.

Ten days ago, we booked our flights.

Today, I'm checking into the Card Paris Museum pass and considering where I'd best like to spend my time. Where the professor and I might want to share our time. And really, I simply want to breathe the air. To eat fresh pastry and feel the sense of the movement on the streets. Or stillness, if that happens too.

It's a sabbatical year. Mike is preparing to research, write, and present papers, and I'm preparing to work alongside him. I'm thinking of it in terms of "our sabbatical." And that leads me to the word's—and the concept's—origins. 

sabbatical: leaving a seventh year uncultivated + unpruned

"Sabbatical," in my trusty Canadian Oxford Dictionary, refers to a leave "granted at intervals to a professor or teacher for study or travel, originally every seventh year." Makes sense: that's what this is. And also, "of or appropriate to the Sabbath." Again, it's break-taking. Wikipedia sends us deeper into cultural shaping, and directly to Leviticus 25, where all workers were implored to leave a seventh year fallow, or their crops uncultivated and orchards unpruned. Then it goes on to trumpets, bound labourers, and release by uncles. Of any book in the bible, Leviticus is one I'd least want to follow to the letter: but the sabbatical part interests me. 

It makes sense that we need to take breaks. We need rest, so that we can offer our best work—or fruit, in the sense of the fallow crop—to our communities. Maybe a change of scenery also allows for the re-shaping of time?

Paris is just the beginning: it offered the lowest cost on flights into Europe. We'll stop over in Reykjavik on our way for a few nights, and carry on to Barcelona and beyond. I'm buzzing with curious anticipation, and grateful for all of the possibilities that "uncultivated and unpruned" can bring.