Today presented itself to me as gloriously unstructured, pretty much the first such day since I embarked on my Royal Roads adventure last July.

The reason: Year One is done.

Yesterday, I submitted the final paper in the final class of the first year. I am torn between feeling relief, and feeling that I am forgetting a stack of required reading or a surprise 1,200-word essay.

Tomorrow, the pre-residence work apparently starts, leading up to another three weeks on campus in Victoria, B.C. and the official launch of Year Two.

So on this sunny summer day, I have been in the pool several times. I sat under an umbrella and ate a sandwich and wrote this. I finished a book that I had been reading FOR FUN (what a concept!); because of all the required school readings, I have had to sneak in one chapter at a time over several months. (That is probably the part I find most difficult about managing my time to do this two-year program: no time to read for fun. So after reading 42 books last year, I have only managed 10 at the halfway point of 2011.)

For some reason, the concept of “controlled burning” comes to mind. That’s the technique used in forest management whereby small, deliberate fires burn off some vegetation, reducing the chance of serious bigger fires. Controlled burning also stimulates regeneration, thus renewing the forest. So, if I feel as if I have been burning through my brain cells at a vicious pace, maybe that was just setting the stage for brain regeneration.

For now, my mind is floating in the pool.

Fire image courtesy of digitalart and