Not Images Alone

I received a card featuring a rather realistic painting of a pickle with a tiny cartoon party hat clumsily appendixed to it. This was my congratulations card for getting a PhD. Apparently, the giver thinks I am "in a pickle". I prefer to consider the card a humourous gesture, though the card's insistance on "a bigger salary" gets no laughs when one would prefer for pickles to be in the refrigerator as actual food. But it is hilarious! Imagine the T-shirt: I earned a PhD and all I got was this lousy pickle. Pfwee. (Requisite sound of party horn.)
And maybe it isn't much of a party when there are so many academic expectations some of us brine ourselves in, great narratives of achievement, like the cry of the PB (personal best) in the running world. So many sites recommend a perfect draft before the defense, others expect that what happens is not always what is wished for. Yet this fixation of bests does not trouble everyone: some are content #rehashing.
Anyway, so one wakes up one morning, next to a card of a pary-hat-wearing pickle, and wonders how one got into a relationship where food has left the pantry for the portrait! One can't live on images alone. Apparently, It's So Hard to Leave Academe: for example, years and years of teaching likely mean a network shrunk to within the academy, making it hard to network for jobs beyond it. The alma mater now leaves students only partly nourished - but if nourishment is nurtured, she is not at fault, she herself had not been cared for.
As I write this post, it is as if I am willing myself to know the end to this story. But it has taken this long for me to write a more concrete post introducing the debacle.
Luckily, as I sat down to write, I also opened up Susannah Conway's December Reflections blog prompts, and today's is also about bests, as in a "best day". In the photo below was a rainbow I thought I was going to be able to run beneath on a long run, but which turned out to be an optical illusion: I was running alongside it. The elusive rainbow following the arch of the sun transports an elusive messenger who says that the arche is the idea that underlies images. It was a pretty good day when I saw that rainbow, memorable, sometimes perhaps what evades is closer than one might think; maybe this is the test of eidos, where action proves essence needn't be idea alone.

Brush: Misprinted type.

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