"How many years can some people exist before they're allowed to be free?
How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind.
The answer is blowin' in the wind."
I changed the calendar in my classroom today, taking the hearts off for February and putting up the shamrock numbers. I thought of how the March calendar stayed up for months in 2020- how my classroom was frozen in time, empty of it's inhabitants, March still hanging through April, May and June.
March is back again. On Wednesday, (March 2nd) masks become optional in New York State schools. This, I know, is a hot issue for so many. I respect those who want to continue masking, but I feel ready to teach again with my whole smile. My son, who is in 5th grade, says he might still wear a mask. He isn't worried about COVID-19 (he's vaccinated) but I think the mask allows for some hiding. I think it will take time for our kids to feel fully comfortable again in a world without constant masks.
My children talk to me about Putin and the Ukraine and Russia and war. I don't have the words except war is awful. Tik Tok and all the online images they see bring war into our home. My son, who has always been very interested in the army and World War II (and the American Revolution) is impressed by images of the President of the Ukraine putting on a uniform and fighting for his country. I see an image today I can't unsee- a six year old girl killed by a shell while she was outside of a grocery story with her family. I don't want to see these images. I want to look away. I want to block it all out.
For this year's SOLSC, I decided to have a song each day be my anchor and create a playlist to remember the month. Blowin' in the Wind came to me the other day....I always thought I would be someone to speak out when I think of the big moments in history, like the Holocaust. But here I am, at another big historical and painful moment, and I am like the man in the song- turning his head and pretending he doesn't see. I don't know how to see it all and not be consumed. I don't know how I can help. I decide what I can do is pray, and so I pray for peace.
I decide my children and I will go to Mass on Ash Wednesday and get ashes. I've never taken them. I am a lapsed Catholic who needs faith again. This world is so hard. March is here, with winds blowing, and a world once again in distress. I will be on the lookout for answers.
It is February break and I am not on a beach in the Bahamas or skiing the slopes. I am home, with a list a mile long of everything I want to accomplish this week. Next to me, in his cozy suede bed, Teddy slumbers. His fur is super soft from his recent grooming and I pat his head as I walk by from time to time. I should add "stare at Teddy while he sleeps" to my list. It is what I feel like doing.
The proverb "Let sleeping dogs lie" is an interesting one, especially at this moment in history when there are so many issues to be challenged. What do we let lie and when do we fight the fight? It also calls to mind the Billy Joel song "Angry Young Man"- "I believe I've passed the age of consciousness and righteous rage- I found that just surviving is a noble plight. I once believed in causes too- had my pointless point of view- but life went on no matter who was wrong or right." Nearing 43, I feel more and more like Billy Joel in "Angry Young Man"- I don't have as much fight in me anymore. Especially professionally- I used to be so passionate about certain educational issues and I would be the one making a point in a meeting. Lately, I've had more of a "keep your head down, don't rock the boat, but make it work for the kids the best you can" outlook. I'm not sure if that's good or bad.
Back to the list and back to watching my sleeping dog lie...
**Warming up my writing muscles again for SOLSC in March!
The snow was still falling as I made my way into the crowded parking lot, snagging one of the last spots. Superbowl Sunday and this popular pizzeria was crowded with people, like me, who placed an order online and had come to pick it up. We had friends coming over to watch the game and so we ordered pizza, wings, meatballs, salads, and roasted veggies. The order was due for pick up by 5 pm and we pre-paid.
Pushing open the door, I had a sinking feeling when I realized the place was packed. I made my way to the end of a long line and heard people muttering about how behind they were in fulfilling orders. The 4:30 people were just starting to get their orders. One man said if he got out of there before 6 he would be happy- he was a 5:00-er like me.
Standing on line, I passed the time by texting and scrolling my phone. More and more people came in. The staff was frantically trying to get the orders out. For a moment I thought, what if we never get the food? What will we serve our guests?
My name was called (finally) and I made my way back home where our friends already had arrived. My favorite dish, the roasted cauliflower, was left out of the order. Was I going back for it? Not a chance.
**I am really trying to get back in the writing habit and showing up for Tuesday blogging! As I sat down to write, I felt stuck again as to what to write. I thought of this little story. Now after it's written, I feel like it isn't much of a story to tell, but I will share it anyway because to be a writer I need to write. :)
I am a computer with too many tabs open
My efficiency is halted,
Buffering, spinning, freezing
A reset is needed but too afraid to shutdown
I am a computer with too many tabs open.
So that's kind of how it's going. I realized I haven't written a SOL since January 18th. I've been so regretful to miss Tuesdays but I feel so squeezed. I don't know how to get it all done.
It's not a great slice, but here I am. Trying to show up and trying to write. Grace for myself and grace for all of us during busy and challenging times.
Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski