Yet I turn, I turn,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
~ excerpt from Stanley Kunitz’s “The Layers”
This Fall is feeling more unreal to me than any other. What makes this September different? It’s the first September since I was 5 where I didn’t go to school. To learn. To teach. To work.
I’m over 30. That’s a lot of Septembers.
My Facebook friends are primarily teachers. They’re colleagues and friends that I’ve met during my teaching jaunts at various universities. Some of them went to school with me and others shared long meetings and frantic planning sessions. All of them are back to school and teaching.
Well, except for one but she has a new bundle of cuteness so she’s excused.
Me? I feel tardy. I feel late for something and the mind is trying to work itself around this truancy.
Do I wish to go back to teaching? No. I’ve come to love my time away from the drama, the conflicts, and the pettiness. I love having my evenings all to myself where I can bake a batch of cookies or putter about my garden.
I love the anticipation for the next project at my new job (too bad it’s not until spring), and the small duties about the house that need doing.
I love eating breakfast with Eddy and my hubby while the sun streams in across our table.
I love exercising every morning and having the time to squeeze in some yoga in the evening.
I love having a weekend that I can spend with my hubby taking long walks without the pressure of deadlines and grading.
I love everything about how my life is at the moment, but I can’t help but feel a bit lost.
A road that has guided me so faithfully cannot be so easily forgotten. It’s made me into the person that can find the small joys in what others might find to be menial tasks.
With the onset of Fall, my body feels like it’s in the wrong place. Where are the crooked desks? The pink lunch bag? The impossible to reach chalk board?
Where are the stacks of notes and scribbled lesson plans?
Where is the feeling of triumph when a lesson goes well? The feeling of endings when classes are over for the day? The thrill of anticipation when a hand is raised?
There are many things about teaching that I won’t miss, but perhaps quite a few that I will.
“When do you think I’ll start to view a normal year as starting in January instead of September?”
My hubby had no answer as we strolled Sunday evening.
Maybe next Fall, I decided. Or maybe the one after. Perhaps it’ll creep up on me like my birthdays seem to and surprise me one year when I least expect it.
Right now I want to live within those layers. I want to let them fall about me like the comforter we’ve hauled out from storage. Each one lying against my skin – not too heavy, not too warm, but present and soothing.