Monday, September 21, 2009

Seasons

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The coming of fall brings memories of so many things to the front of my mind. The change of every season brings memories: childhood, high school, college…every season of my life flashes before me like the brightly colored leaves fluttering to the ground.

The leaves are changing early this year, I think. The tips of some trees are fluorescent pinks and reds; others are nearly saturated with yellow and brown. I gaze at them as I drive to work, to run errands. I get lost in their transformations as I run through the neighborhoods, becoming startled when a squirrel’s movement brings me back to reality.

I have lived through twenty-five autumns, this year marking my twenty-sixth. I do not remember my first couple autumn seasons, though as I grew older the season would be marked with the beginning of the school year, a crisp moving breeze, the donning of sweaters and the sipping of crisp apple cider.

Funny how my memories are so colored by Hallmark clich├ęs.

This is the first September that I have not returned to school. I am still a teacher, running my day by bells that ring at 41 minute intervals. I create assignments, plan lectures, collect tests and assign grades. I am still very much “in” school…just not as a student.

And even though I go to school every day, I feel somehow I have gotten older. I have left the role of student, perhaps for now, perhaps forever, and entered into my time exclusively as teacher, as caretaker, as advocate, without care for my own educational career.

It’s freeing, and yet I mourn it as well. Entering a classroom with colorful ink pens, crisp three-holed paper and the stomach for an insurmountable syllabus brings a smile to my face and activities to my evening.

And now my evenings are empty, a reality just as difficult to stomach.

I am one who has marked my worth by the productivity of my days for as long as I can remember.

And now I am learning (because I will always be a student) that I can learn new things with the empty evenings:

To find peace.

To find rest.

And to appreciate the changing of the seasons.

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