Last Day…First Day. Today is the Only Day

Last day of school.

First day of summer vacation.

I went to school and photocopied poetry and short stories, wrote emails.  I stared at the county’s calendar for next year and thought about when the PSAT or state mandated tests will be scheduled and its effect on my students.  I read more poetry and thought about what worked and what failed this year.

I re-printed Bob’s poetry, photocopied them, tucked them into a box holding other stacks of poems and felt like I whispered a prayer as I set things in reverse chronological order.

My students said to end the year with Bob’s poetry, that it gave them the confidence they need for starting the next year.  My students said that they appreciated what I was trying to do, that they were grateful that I was trying to show them that their opinions mattered.

But they said the lesson would be lost if done at the beginning of the year, that my words needed to stand as I guided them through intense levels of annotation and analysis.  And so I will wait another eleven months before pulling out Bob’s poetry and setting up more video conferences.  

I started blocking out The Diary of Anne Frank.  I have worked my way through two pages.  Two.  But those are two more pages than what I have blocked in the past.  And as I moved the imaginary, prospective actors around the stage, I felt a kinship that I didn’t understand.  A kinship to the play, to the words.  A kinship to Anne which doesn’t make sense because the play is based on her words but not necessarily are her words.

A kinship to the words.  The play begins with descriptions of a sunset, the symbol of death.  And this is juxtaposed against the fact that Otto Frank enters the stage just as he has left and recuperated from his time at a concentration camp.  He is the image of living death.  And this is paralleled against Miep Gies who is pregnant….a symbol of life, of re-birth.

And as I am recognizing these layers of images and symbols, I can’t help but be overwhelmed with a sense of responsibility.  This is more than just a word, a story.  This is an incarnation of an event that the world promised “Never Again” but has allowed to be duplicated, even if on a less scientific scale.

Today, I left the school at 12:02.  I waved good-bye to people and wished them happy summers.  I wished a colleague well who is going to be an administrator at another school. I am sorrowful that he is leaving.  I am happy for him as he chases a dream.

Change echoes through the halls.  Change lives in the different corners and hidden nooks and crannies and I feel very present within the change that courses through the building.  I am part of the change.  I am the bringer of change.

I am change.

I am also waxing poetic…please forgive me.

Several days ago, Pat and I stood outside our house and stared at Mars.  It was just beneath the moon which was a half-formed dome of light.  Pat followed the line of the horizon and pointed out other luminescent features, planets.  In a perfect horizontal axis, the other planets of the solar system stood as sharp counterpoint, like tiny coordinates pointing out the paths I dream about walking this summer.

I hid in my office this afternoon and picked out pencils to use for coloring my mandalas.  I bought a collection of 72 watercolor pencils and, today, to be different, I yielded the concept of choice based on hues and tones and chose numbers.  I colored a mandala in ascending colors on pencils labelled with prime numbers.  I colored a masala with colors ranging in numbers divisible by two.

I blended the colors, traced a rough-edged, white-tipped blending pencil across the streaks of color and, at first, nothing happened.

And then, slowly, the definition of lines evaporated and the sharp contrasts between colors muted, evaporated.

It’s funny how I chase a thought and realize that I wrote a metaphor.  Because the descriptions of coloring my mandalas echoes this sense of today.  The lines of my life at school and at home have blended.  What should be considered only work completed at my professional world is here.

Summer vacation means that I can bend the boundaries of time and do not live my life on a schedule based on electronic bells that ring in a four-beat rhythm.  Summer vacation means that I finally get to catch up on reading books that I have been meaning to read for the longest time.  Summer vacation means that I can enjoy the luxury of writing…

I love my life.

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