I have this thing about turtles. I love them. There’s just something about them, their pace, their vulnerability when crossing highways, their longevity, their awkwardness on land that contrasts with their grace in the water (any dancer will understand this); it’s all very appealing to me. I frequently find myself rescuing them from the side of highways, sprinting across the road in my flip flops, risking my own neck for theirs.
I also love that they know how to take it easy. They climb up onto a rock or a log and bask, just happy to soak in the heat. I think I’m jealous of them. We once had an apartment that was too big for the amount of furniture we owned. We had a south-facing window in that apartment and I used to curl up on the brand-new carpeting sometimes and nap in the puddle of sunshine on the floor. It felt amazing. I hope that’s what it feels like to be a turtle in the summertime.
I wish that’s what it felt like it to be a teacher in the summertime but I confess that it’s not, at least not for me. I know we get a lot of flack for how many holidays we get and, really, I promise, I’m not complaining. But… and maybe it’s because I have young kids of my own now, or because I’ve never really taken a summer completely off (filing them with courses has been my speciality), or just because this summer has been so darn cold, I’ve been finding it very hard to revel in the lightness of summer, to bask in the heat.
I feel like I spent the first few weeks missing my students and worrying about the ones that might not be having such a great summer, catching up on housework, checking of items on my to-do list that had languished there for months, shuttling my own kids to camp programs and catching up on sleep. Now I’ve switched into scouting mode. I found the most gorgeous gardening store while we were away and bought an amazing metal sphere to hang in the classroom. I don’t know what we’re going to do with it exactly but I’m psyched to find out. I feel like I should submit an entry to this book, just to satisfy my own curiosity.
I’m looking towards September with equal part thrilling excitement and total dread. After a few weeks, I no longer remember how I manage to keep all those balls in the air and my juggling muscles start to atrophy. The pace will be relentless and I forget that too easily. I’m going to spend these last few weeks trying to channel my inner turtle by finding a puddle of sunshine to bask in.