Although every year has the very same 365 days – or 366 days when we “leap. It sure seems that some years pass more quickly than others – especially as I mature.
I understand why 2022 in particular seem to pass in a blur – I had a lot going on!
I moved my professional life from one Midwestern location to another – although the move of my personal and social lives have not fully followed (a story for another day).
This move was one that entailed packing up my liberal-arts infused science career at a research institution that resulted in my producing work spanning from lessons on the biochemistry of plants to lessons from plants (#LessonsFromPlants) on how to thrive as humans, individually and in community.
I’m still processing and writing through my reflections of my first 6 months in this new professional phase. I’m sure I’ll share some here, in published essays, and these reflections may even influence some portions of my next long-form project-in-progress (more on the latter soon!).
The greatest victory is that I’ve re-established my writing practice that experienced some significant disruptions in the first couple of months after my move in late June 2022. This re-establishment involves a new BELOVED plant-laden writing studio, and as of last week’s end-of-year writing retreat, a writing plan and schedule for 2023. As always my writing retreat involved reflecting on my writing progress (and challenges) for last year. I wrote both before, during, and after the move even if the pace was slower and sporadic.
I’m excited about the writing journey ahead for me in 2023. I’ve got solo and joint writing retreats on the calendar – with room for more!
2023 is here…and I’m ready for it!
I generally end each post with “As always, if you have thoughts on this or other posts, you can find me on Twitter at @BerondaM“. While this is currently true, it could change given *waves hand all around*, but you can always find me by adding yourself to my list here on this site: www.berondamontgomery.com
I hope each of you is ready for all that 2023 has in store for you.
I’m about 3 weeks into my professional transition from more than two decades researching, teaching, and leading at research-intensive institutions to a new post at a small liberal arts college.
I must say that I’ve been diligently unpacking, but I’d be less than honest if I said that the diligence was focused on unpacking boxes. I’m focused on unpacking my transition and reflecting on new opportunities.
As a part of this unpacking focus, I’ve been finding and getting accustomed to new rivers and lakes so that I can stick to the rivers and the lakes that I’m used to…if you know you know…for periods of reflection and writing.
I’m enjoying all I’m learning about a new community and institution, as well as about new colleagues and neighbors.
I’m also thrilled to have selectively spent time unpacking and setting up my new writing studio. While the other unpacking can wait, I’m re-establishing my writing practice after moving-related (and anticipated and planned for) gaps in my regular writing process.
I’m finding new “pre-writing” contemplation walking trails and paths.
I’m forgoing new place-based writing rituals and routines
I’m settling in at work, home, and play…and focused on possibilities.
Even as I walk by unpacked and/or tucked away boxes, I’m thrilled to be unpacking new thoughts and plans for opportunities in writing, leading, contributing in new spaces and places.
As always, if you have thoughts on this or other posts, you can find me on Twitter at @BerondaM…even when I should be unpacking!!
In March of 2020, I sat in San Juan staring at palm trees and the ocean trying to redefine what it meant to a “dad’s girl” without him.
The pandemic ultimately forced me to traverse this space of redefinition sitting in physical isolation with myself while staying safe at home throughout many months of the early pandemic. Fortunately, I had virtual connections with friends and family, as well as an expanded set of personal interactions due to the final editing and launch of Lessons from Plants (Harvard University Press, 2021).
Out of an abundance of caution, I was slow to resume travels and in-person engagements, but ultimately vaxxed and boosted I slowly began to emerge and reengage.
As I braved coming out of isolation, I continued to write frequently although not in blog posts. As the pandemic raged on and my first book came out, I spent less time here writing based on my personal reflections and to engage shared community. I instead wrote many short pieces for magazines and public venues inspired by Lessons from Plants. I wrote on lessons from trees on seasonal adaptations and healing. I explored lessons from plants on community and mentoring.
I returned to the blog from time to time to share insights on big events, including a pending career transition.
Being back in Puerto Rico in March of 2022, I was again in a liminal space of emerging from the pandemic—or so I thought. I sat again contemplating how to be on the planet differently. Because though there was a rush to get “back to normal” among many, I knew I had to emerge from the pandemic understanding how to be together again differently.
During the Q&A after a recent talk, an assistant professor in their first few years on the tenure-track came to the microphone. While anticipating a question, I was instead given a most gracious thank you for the writing that I have shared through blog posts. They shared that specific posts had been critical to their persistence and advancement. That the writing I share here had been—and is—needed for them. I was nearly speechless—a rare occurrence indeed!
I thanked them for sharing and acknowledged the “and is needed.“ I indicated that I received this as invitation to return to this space. I know the invitation is first for me, because most all of the writing I’ve done here starts as an answer to my own need for self-reflection and growth. I then lean into the concept of public sharing as rec0gnizing “knowledge as communal” which stems from my own upbringing and familial beliefs.
So, here I am to say—Welcome back, Beronda.
While, I’m not sure what fully lies ahead for my writing in this space, I’ve accepted the invitation back (thanks again to the brave soul who shared the importance of the space to them and their work). I am now eagerly looking to the horizon for new insights, new reflections, new inspirations…for me, and hopefully for those still here with me.
As always, if you have thoughts on this or other posts, you can find me on Twitter at @BerondaM.
End note: I wrote and edited this post for sharing prior to the deeply tragic shooting of elementary students in Uvalde, TX. Before what was indeed a tragic week of shootings at a grocery store in Buffalo, NY and a church in Laguna Woods, CA before Uvalde. I have few words of consequence to share in this heavy moment. I debated whether I should even still share this post.The content of the post does not reflect my current conflicted state but is here for you now, if helpful, or in the future when you are ready to engage.