Last week, I gave and graded 42 exams, wrote and edited 47 comments (one per student, plus one for each class itself) and entered 84 grades (exam and trimester final), all in the span of about 30 hours. The blissful reality of two full weeks of vacation has now set in: café crèmes and breakfast in bed, soaking up sunlight and basking in the peace that only my childhood bedroom bestows.
Spring break is here, and, as usual, it’s not what I had planned. Penny pinching and mile-saving on my poor car aside, the sheer luxury of two weeks away from school is already proving to be vacation enough for me.
But what to write about? Topics have been swirling in my head for ages, but now that I finally find myself sitting down to write, I am at a bit of a loss. So I’ve decided to come back to an old draft I never finished last December (!). Here’s where I was when I apparently became distracted over winter break:
I’ve been meaning to blog about the simplest of every-day beauty for several months now: the stark beauty of winter landscapes. Actually, the header on my blog is the perfect illustration of what I am talking about: tree branches against a crisp winter sky.
Living in Paris, I didn’t notice nature as much because I was always hurrying to and fro, hustling and bustling with the rest of the city. Time not dedicated to hustling and bustling from point A to point B was usually spent cramming in a much needed run. Which can be a quite a feat in the maze of trash cans, street poles, street lamps, poussettes (baby strollers), merchants, tourists and raucous taxi drivers that is Paris. Not to mention presents left behind by the city’s canine friends.*
*This is as far as I got. I shall now attempt to continue … I feel pretty confident where I was going with that thought.
However, now that I spend the majority of my time in C.T. (during the week at least), I am in a constant state of nature observation because, well, there’s not too much else to look at. Every day or so as I drive to the grocery store (not much else to do in these parts), I am again struck by the rolling hills and, in the winter time, the pencil-like sharpness of tree branches against a blazingly-blue winter sky.
Now it must be acknowledged that when I started “Winter trees” last December, we were only one blizzard in. Now having dealt with three, plus one other substantial snow, winter landscapes have lost a bit (fine, a lot) of their romanticism and beauty for me. Try losing power in the middle of nowhere with non-functioning generators while dealing with 112 rowdy high schoolers and you’ll understand.
However, after dealing with a winter the likes of which I’ll probably (hopefully!) never experience again, I am eternally grateful for the promise this spring holds. Until this year, I was never too excited for spring’s arrival. I preferred to just skip ahead to summer. Extremely cold-natured, I found the persnickety temperatures and persistent wind to be frustrating, both on my psyche and on my outfit choice. I struggled to stay warm, perfecting the exact amount of layers needed to not shiver my way through the day. Inevitably, when I finally found the perfect layering combination, the temperature magically increased. I would then initiate an absurd rite of peeling off layers.
But this spring, I feel somehow tougher after the storms, below-freezing temperatures, sheets of ice and snowy winds we’ve endured the past several months. Now, when I walk outside to 55 degree weather, I don’t even need a coat. Miracles never cease.
And as for the previously stark winter trees trees, well, buds trying to peek out have never looked so beautiful. Usually, birds chirping in the morning bother me, rude interrupters of my last hard-won minutes of sleep. But the last couple of weeks, they’ve sounded almost sweet, persistent reminders that yes, spring is coming…