I’ve been holed up this week, while the divinity school is on fall break, working on a book. Jan was kind enough to let me sneak off to a condo near New Bern for several days, where I’ve been getting up at dawn and plugging away until my shoulders, neck, or brain (not always in the same order) can’t take any more.

I eat, of course, though I haven’t been out even once: leftovers from home, a pot of split pea soup, a bunch of bananas and an occasional pack of Ramen noodles have kept me going. I take breaks every now and then, and it’s nice to step onto the deck for a minute, or walk around the pond, or climb on a bike for a bit of exercise. I jumped a deer while riding one day, a young buck that kept his distance, but didn’t run away, apparently curious about the strange creature than ran on wheels.

Guys (and gals) like these I could see from the window, or within a few feet of the condo. Ducks and geese are plentiful, along with herons and crows. Seagulls, not so many.

Mostly, however, what I saw was this: a stack of books and a laptop, scribbled notes on a pad, a rough draft on the screen. I’ve managed to knock out about 60 pages so far. If my Old Testament students accomplish a quarter as much, they’ll be nearly through with their exegesis papers.

It’s tempting to leave my study space and drive down to Morehead City for some seafood, but I remind myself that I need to do what I came to do. More than once, I’ve found myself humming the inimitable words of the great Roger Miller, whose classic “You can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd” includes this chorus:

“All you got to do, is put your mind to it,
knuckle down, buckle down, do it, do it, do it…”

Sometimes you just have to do it, or it won’t get done.

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