Teachers–ever feel that you need a vacation to recover from summer? That’s how I feel today.
I had a list, “Things to Accomplish This Summer.” Nothing is done.
First, I promised my friend Claudia I’d finish “The Book I Wonder if Anyone Will Read.” It’s not done. I removed spelling mistakes, inserted paragraphs and line breaks so my other friend won’t cry, and added a ton more sarcasm. Progress.
I planned to clean out the cellar. Also not done. In the spirit of good intent, I rummaged through a couple of boxes, consolidating and repacking them. I see a small dent in the pile. The size of dent that’d require the “f” word if a carriage dinged your car, but wouldn’t cause you to fix it. There’s a path to the holiday decorations. Progress.
I failed to do my canning and preserving. To be fair, some of this was Mother Nature. The B-grade (irregular shaped, end of season, cheap) produce conspires to be ripe when I’m back in school. Something about harvest season which cannot be changed, even with the addition of global warming. School starts Monday. I’ll be moonlighting making your jams and salsas. I’ve contacted my farmer at least. Progress.
Some other things I didn’t do this summer: I didn’t see my sister’s new house in DC or visit my brother in Virginia. I wanted to, but I was tired. Not running around the universe seemed like the better deal. Teachers never listen to the urge to rest–there’s always 26 hours of work that must be done by tomorrow. When the calendar appears to give us a break, we insert something else. This summer, at the risk of being a bad family member, I didn’t travel much. Cutting down the schedule…progress.
We did fun, local things like Dinosaur Park in Connecticut. It has dinosaur statues, a water sprinkler park, maze, and a playground, and gem mining if you mortgage your house. Grandpa paid because he lost a bet to Declan, something about “You won’t eat a string bean.” Never bet against six-year old in a high-stakes bet. This was a classic “house always wins” for Declan. Not that he’s eaten a string bean since. Eating veggies, having fun…progress.
We came back, driving under the biggest full moon I’ve ever seen. Turns out, it was a blue moon, a rare occasion–a concession from Mother Nature apologizing for the fruit delay. I unloaded the car, blue sky fading into black outlining the silhouettes of the trees, bats circling overhead. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen a bat, other than the ones that live in my own belfry. Stopping to enjoy nature…progress.
Bats were always a favorite of mine. For four years, we lived in an old Victorian with a cracked attic window, where bats slept out the day. I enjoyed watching them hang upside down an inch from my nose. I love watching them fly more. Flying bats remind me of…me. Never flying in a straight line, they always look like they’re going to crash into something. They flit from place to place, in a zig-zags, and circles, avoiding trees. I wonder how they can survive. They look so scattered.
Yet, like me, they seem to get everything done–they eat, they fly, they sleep. Nice to see them flapping around at the full moon preparing for Halloween like a stock clerk setting out pumpkins and witches for the American consumer long before Labor Day.
I accomplished one thing on my list–another Kripalu yoga retreat. The retreat helped reconcile my failure to accomplish everything else with the true meaning of life. Just as not accomplishing my summer list is an annual event, a yoga retreat to forgive myself will become one. Cyndi Lee presented “Strength, Stability and Clarity,” three things I can use in life.
I have three days to finish everything on my list and contemplate the beginning of the school year. I’m filing this under “Not gonna happen.” What will happen–I’ll take a minute to contemplate balance, so I can better understand the blessings my family, friends, and students bring to me, and save the extra time for them. Progress.