Rooting

Three years. It’s been almost three years since I tore myself out of my life and my world. Shredded my roots and plopped myself into a new home. A new job.

A new life.

And in that time, I continually felt disconnected. I had left everything in a good way. No burnt bridges. No severed contacts. I had said my “see you laters” and my “love you! mean its” with sincerity. I have tried to keep in touch and contact with as many people as possible.

And I went forward to my new job with excitement. Anticipation. Fear. Trepidation.

I slid into my new classroom with a handful of confidence and a stack of questions. And over the course of the first four months, I developed new friendships. Built new curriculum. Wrote a little more. Got myself published.

But I stood on my front door and watched the world and felt a tenuous but uneasy connection to it. I love my house. I love the little town where I live. But I had no real sense of routine other than the new dog walking circle I created for myself.

Introduce into this shallow topography Covid. The sequestering. The quarantining. The indelicacy of social distancing and political divisions. Opinions festering into fights over who is wrong and who is right when we don’t even have all of the information. Cruelty being the falsified cure because someone screwed up the letters and added a few more. Because some how the concept of care and caring became self-centered.

I hid in my classroom and hid in my house and talked to people over computer screens, feeling like my world was encased in glass lit by blue lights. I continued to walk my dog in four and five mile circles that began and ended with my home but took me nowhere. I met people whose names I think I remember but don’t really know if I even have a fraction of their stories.

And so I entered into the 2021 school year. New students. New curriculum. New classes. Students who hadn’t been in a classroom for eighteen months. Students who didn’t have social graces or the understanding of…or respect for… the word “no” or “now.” Students who believed in deadlines functioning like rubber bands. Students who

Resented.

Resentment was bilateral and double edged. They resented me. And, I’m ashamed to admit….I kind of resented them for resenting me.

Just because I want to be nice doesn’t always mean that I will be seen that way. And then when I had Covid myself (yay for breathrough infection) plus a horrible situation that is way outside of my control and can not and will not be discussed (but I am fine as is my family). Regardless….my patience stretched to the point of fraying. And I lived within a fatigued blindness that has rendered things dim in my memory. Or maybe I just don’t want to remember them anymore.

In the end, 2021 ended. 2022 began. Horribly. Or so I thought.

I continued to walk on glass that slipped and slid under my feet and I couldn’t feel myself linger in any one place. I couldn’t even walk in my dog-walk circle because of the cold and the ice. I just stood in place and pressed my hands against the walls and waited.

Maybe it’s those long moments of standing still that I finally rooted. Because last night, during my Newspaper students’ fundraiser, I finally felt that moment when I stopped questioning and just moved into that beautiful, existential verb of living. The continual sense of confusion. The insecurity. The swirling lack of confidence that kept me mobile in my immobile questing eased.

For the first time in months, I’m not questioning my abilities. I’m not constantly revising what I have done or disguising that I’m just constantly playing catch-up. I stood within the circumference of my stepping stone and existed. And realized that the resentment was gone. Maybe it never existed. Maybe my own questioning was so toxic that it corrupted how I was thinking.

On Monday, on the first really warm day since the beginning of January, I took my dog on a long walk. We went on one of our usual circles and she pulled non-stop to smell every last scent that existed on every last blade of grass. Outside my norm, I listened to music. Since I walk on the roads, I like to listen for traffic. But I was expecting phone calls….so I kept in my earbuds and walked forward.

Song after song came on that were meaningful to me. Songs that reminded me of my children. Songs that were inspirational to me years ago that lifted me out of my wintery frigidity. The miles sank beneath me and the promise of spring, the warmth in the air, the sun in its western axis. Everything was right in its orbit. At that moment. In that brief space of time.

I finally felt like I was home again.

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