Today's all-day meeting at Tri-C Metro campus was my last official duty for more than a year. I'll be on sabbatical until August of 2009, an unbelievably great benefit to being a college teacher. Even when the stress of dealing with unhappy students and unreasonable administrators is at its highest you have to remember that teaching is still a great gig.
Truth is, people in a lot of other professions deserve time away from the job to refresh and restore— social workers, nurses, and cops come to mind—any occupation where you deal with people in stressful situations. For whatever reason the tradition doesn't exist for them, and I think that's unfortunate. I'm very thankful that in the academic world this hasn't yet fallen victim to the recent shift to a more "corporate" model.
Driving home from today's meeting I went through downtown to see what was new. The high-rise apartments being built behind the Galleria were pretty impressive, and as I turned on East 9th toward the Rock Hall I heard bagpipes.
Call me crazy, but there's something about the sound of pipes and drums that connects on a gut level for me. So I found a parking space in front of the Science Center and walked back up to Willard Park where I'd seen and heard the pipes. I watched and listened for about fifteen minutes, until they stopped.
In this picture we're looking through one of the oversized guitar sculptures that's part of the city's annual Guitarmania event, past the old Firefighters' memorial sculpture (dark and light columns on the left) towards the Ottawa Police band rehearsing for Saturday's memorial concert to honor slain police officers.
Earlier in the day they'd been part of a parade that passed this same park. Click to watch video of parade.