Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Seeing the sky

Tuesdays at Two Writing Teachers!
Driving home, after another challenging day in the midst of a particularly arduous couple of weeks, I suddenly saw the sky. Really saw it.

I don't know what I had been seeing for the first half of the drive home -- mostly my mental to-do list tumbling over a blur of barren trees and leftover snow. But then I climbed a gentle hill, swung around a quiet bend, noticed the song change on the radio, or just raised my eyes a little higher... and somehow, I noticed the sky.

A soft, gray blend of light like muted watercolors, melting into brilliant streaks of yellow and orange. Light, not darkness. The days are stretching themselves toward spring just as the trees stretch toward the sky. Beauty and hope.

It was like waking up from a dismal dream, and I realized how easy it is to trudge through days with such a narrow focus, just like I had for the first half of my drive. Testing, paperwork, meetings, and mandates. Lists that grow longer instead of shorter. Tasks like tentacles that drag me away from the joy of planning and teaching. And if I manage to get my mind off of all that, worries that flit through my head with the annoying whine of mosquitoes. How will I possibly do all of this next year, when I can barely do it now?

But just like on my drive home, if I raise my eyes and clear my mind, I can see the sky:

A fun lunch group full of positive colleagues who miss me and ask about me when I have to eat at a different time due to testing. Students whose faces light up when they walk into my classroom. That glorious moment of intense silence that means they really don't want to stop when I ask them to come to a stopping place in their books. Poignant, vulnerable words from growing writers who have learned that their stories matter. Former students who stop by to say hi, borrow books, and tell me that they were talking together about what a good mom they think I'll be. Supportive, caring administrators who go out of their way to help and encourage me. Precious friends who listen closely, understand, and show they care with smiles, texts, and gifts of their time. And at home, an incredibly sweet husband who takes care of me in so many big and little ways.

When I chose my one little word for this year, I was mostly thinking about my own actions. But I see that it's just as important to notice all the LOVE that surrounds me: always there, full of beauty and hope, just like the sky.