Saturday, January 26, 2013

Out of Focus



A month past solstice, the sun rises at 9:42am and graces us with almost seven hours of daylight. Monday morning Curtis and I were out skiing when the sky came to life, the wispy clouds radiating in dark pink and then orange, eventually glowing with the white brightness of the sun. The ski trails were covered with a fresh dusting of snow that came Sunday afternoon. The groomer had been by in streaks throughout our trail of choice, leaving fresh corduroy paths along divots left from many weekend visitors. The lights on the trail flickered out as we progressed, having finished their duties through the dark hours of the early morning. 

We practically had the trails to ourselves, save the two moose on the back half of the trail, munching distractedly on the empty branches, enjoying the lack of snow as it makes everything that much more accessible. 

Weather has come in unpredictable streaks as of late. Sunday's snow was followed by a comfortable Monday morning sun, a week of warming temperatures topping at 45 on Thursday afternoon before plummeting to -15 by Saturday morning. Fifty degree temperature swings bringing little snow and melting what delicate amounts we have seem to be the norm for this winter, a season that seems to be slipping by quickly.

We speak of schedules a lot these days, jockeying around Curtis's few days off to maximize their potential, unsure of when we might need them with a baby's unpredictable arrival--and yet scheduling them with our best guesses. An out-of-town rotation in April seems like ages away, I commented to Curtis yesterday over dinner. Life will look different then--a different I don't yet fully understand--and yet it's less than three months away and will be here very soon.

In the mean time I carry markers around in my mind, milestones to check off as they arrive:
Seven weeks until the due date.
Six weeks of school until the end of the quarter.
Four weeks until I am officially full term.
One week until research papers are due.

Beyond those measurements everything seems out of focus, unpredictable and new, uncharted. 

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The students ask a lot of questions these days, perhaps aware of impending change in their routines, what they can count on, what they expect based on the past six months. For months it was as if my ever growing stomach didn't exist. Sure, they stared, shamelessly at times, but they didn't comment, didn't ask, didn't wonder aloud. 

Now they do.

"How many weeks are you?" A girl will ask. 
"Do you know what it is?" Another will comment. 
Lately I've taken to joking with them: "A puppy," I'll reply to confused looks--until the unsuspecting student realizes the joke and the surrounding students all have a laugh. 

When I missed a class period for a last minute parent conference, a student commented that he thought I may have gone into labor. I suppose I should get used to such over reactions to any change from the usual. They know one day I'll disappear--perhaps without warning. I suppose I can't blame them for having that be their first assumption whenever I appear to be missing.

As I prepare my maternity leave lesson plans I find myself compelled to record routines: this is how I check out computers, this is how seat assignments work, this is the expectation for beginning of class conduct. In truth, my substitute can establish new routines if he desires, making a classroom that he will run for several weeks his own. Yet I suppose my protective sense wants there to be as little change as possible; perhaps that is me preparing myself for a life that will never be the same.

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The full moon came out last night, lighting the sky as it faded to night: blue, to lavender, pink clouds and eventually darkness. These cycles seem to symbolically remind me that time will continue forward, one day after another, whether I'm grading or giving birth. There is comfort in that. 

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