Sunset over Mordor

With yet another lock-down to be expected in a day or two, I can only sit at home, work remotely, and do something with my spare time when it is still cold and unpleasant outdoors.

Fortunately, I am among those who are not touched in any way neither privately nor professionally by the pandemic. I tried to leave academia for good after a year of remote lecturing changing quickly my part-time advisory position into a regular one.

The on-line lecturing and the abundance of remote academic seminars were a nuisance for me. Some of my fellows could not go through the pandemic without being in touch on-line. Short ‘operational’ meetings once a month changed into forced out long-lasting, terribly boring and indeed annoying on-line discussions once or twice a week. No content. Just idle talk. But you had to be on-line. And then those constant on-line seminars with no true content. Newly discovered Teams was aptly overused. The worthless ‘Facebook symptom’ of measuring success by counting those connected on-line even if you can neither see them nor hear from them …

I think everybody must find a way to go safely through the pandemic time both physically and mentally. For me, by choice and reflection, it is time to stay quiet for the time being and simply rest from the day-to-day hyper activity. Maybe change the way we work for good but with a new balance, not longing for how it used to be.

I thought I was not able to go through yet another term of this annoying routine just to do so. It was too much. I had to make a hard choice.

The world we knew, whether we want it or not, disappeared forever. I think this might be a chance for many to stop for a moment and if this was the case, to get rid of too hasty, too multitasking way of life. To get to a new balance in life. Filling in for the old ways of doing things might be just losing the opportunity to make a quick change and enjoy life in a new order of things.

My new employer made a ban on coming to work unless you have been tested negatively for coronavirus and allows us to be on a call only a couple of hours daily but work in hours of our choice. This allows me to take breaks and provides for some diversity in the daily routine. Looking through photographs of beautiful places I visited in recent years is soothing and diversifies the on-line meetings and long hours of modeling formulas in an excel sheet.

One of the photos I picked up today I did three years ago in New Zealand. I called it Sunset over Mordor as indeed that what you can see on the photo is the sun setting down over mountains behind which the makers of the Lord of the Rings located the Mordor staging area. For those who do not know what I am talking about, Mordor was a seat of a terrible dark force in a famous book and a film made upon it.

In New Zealand, we naturally visited the Hobbiton movie set. The other obligatory location was Mordor’s staging area. Not all of us decided to climb the mountains as the route had to be planned for more than eight hours with no possibility to shorten it. I skipped the route and instead, in the meantime, went with three other fellows to visit underground caves in some other part of the New Zealand Northern Island. We had, of course, to come back to pick up the team who went into the mountains. And we have to wait for them for an hour or so because the route time turned out to be an underestimation. On leaving the area, I managed to take this photo from our van, saying farewell. Then we hit the road again. We still had plenty of beautiful spots to visit ahead of us. With the sun already behind the mountains, there was no sense of looking back. Let bygones be bygones, as a wise man said.