Sunday, September 02, 2007

George Inness, "Landscape"

Sunday, September 2

6:40 a.m.
I'm sitting in my classroom at school, resting after a vigorous bike ride from home. Yes, I know it's Sunday morning, and most people are home still sleeping or having their first cup of coffee and relaxing, but this is actually the way I love to relax on the weekends, especially when the first day of school is just two days away! My classroom in our small independent school is a lovely place -- more like a second home than a workplace. I have five generous windows that look out on a beautiful garden, and my room is decorated in a colorful and comfortable way to look as much like home as possible. Just now I'm looking out the windows at the wavering leaves of a birch tree and the early sunlight starting to illuminate the trees across the parking lot. There's no one else here -- just me and the milk machine humming in the hall and the first birds singing and the far distant drone of cars on the interstate, going somewhere special.

7:07 a.m.
Now the sunshine has reached the walls of the classroom across the garden, and the sunny places on the wall seem yellow with the shadows of leaves moving ever so slightly on them. Also, the white flowers in boxes by the sidewalk are now shining in the light. A small gray bird just zipped down to the grass to pick up something and then hurried back to a slim branch, and now one yellow leaf floats languidly down.

9:09 a.m.
Still at school. Half of the grass in the garden is now in sunshine, and the shadows of tree limbs overhead are swaying across the grass. The breeze has risen a bit, and dried leaves are somersaulting across the garden. I just glimpsed a dark bird shooting across the blue sky above the lower school. I'm working hard to get ready to meet my students on Tuesday -- just an old, seasoned teacher encircled by blessings.

9:52 a.m.
Still here, putting together booklets for independent reading responses. Almost the entire garden lies in sunlight now, and seemingly all the leaves in all the trees are swaying in the light. I'm enjoying a mid-morning cup of coffee in a gray mug with a picture on it of a golfer in a yellow shirt with two trees and grass.

1:04 p.m.
Back home now, after a bike ride home that was both restful and intense. I took a roundabout way, first riding along the quiet country lanes of North Stonington. I stopped a few times to admire the many masterful stone fences along the roads, and I generally took it fairly easily pedaling through the undisturbed countryside. However, when I hit Route 2 (the main road to and from the casino), I found myself in a sort of racing atmosphere. The cars, trucks, and buses roared past me in a cloud of noise and exhaust, and soon I imagined myself in some kind of insane contest. I found myself pedaling as fast as possible, as if to keep up with the traffic. It was crazy for about fifteen minutes, but soon enough I found myself back on a peaceful lane beside our always lazy Pawcatuck River, and I was once again an indolent, carefree bicyclist going nowhere special.

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