So while I got a few details cleared away today -- gathering needed signatures and getting a form submitted, grading journals, answering e-mails -- what I kept gravitating towards was the big picture. I set up a Google Wave with a colleague to think through our field's use of technology. I sent a follow-up e-mail about a committee meeting yesterday that put a speculative discussion in some further context. And I met with students about two different long-term projects that are still in the conceptual stage.
What's happening is that I'm finding it dissatisfying to focus on details until I know something that differentiates between relevant and irrelevant details. I've become quite evangelical on the need to know why one course of action is preferable to another. It matters where it takes us, and it matters what that says about who we are.
At some point I'll have to get down to brass tacks. But I'm pretty sure when I get there, I'll know better what those tacks are supposed to be holding together.