Balance

The heat wave has come slowly, but come it did. 90’s today and hotter through Thursday of this week–maybe even Friday. Wind, too. Lots and lots of wind.

But none of that prepared me for this evening which turned out to be, not cool, but cool-ish. So Shannon and I hooked up Simon for a walk and strolled about a mile and a half, down by the park in between the baseball players. It felt good, actually and taking advantage of it seemed mandatory. It won’t be that cool again for a week or so.

So the school year draws down to a sweet, simple end while we swelter away. God help us that the May/June gloom, one of the happiest weather phenomenons of Southern California, will return before the end of the month. I cannot say the school-year was a good one. The kids were just fine for the most part, but as the giant, grinding, heartless education bureaucracy grinds on and grows bigger–it becomes less interested in creativity and natural force and trades them in favor of the synthetic and the sameness of tests, standards and rule-enforcement. It’s actually like watching a train wreck occurring–there’s nothing you can do to stop it and if you don’t get out of the way, you’ll become part of it.

That is, of course, the paradox of teaching–the bureaucracy inexorably demands you join it and if you don’t, you end up being labeled “rebellious” and “rogue.” Well, these are terms I’ve come to embrace. I’m not going to jeopardize my job-but I’m not going to give in and get crushed under the grinding wheel.

There’s a searching nature about this time and I’m not entirely sure where that search will lead. Spring is indeed the soul-chasing season and I feel like I am chasing mine just now. Sometimes the answers are big and grand and I’m content with them and feel like I’m whole, just so: a finished article, a new editor and a challenging assignment. Other times, I feel like there’s a ways to go and it will take some time before I get there: a grinding day in the classroom, paperwork and forms, layers of regulations, draining finances.

And that’s spring, now–a hot and windy crucible, a glorious and lush day of sunshine and cool breeze, an evening walk with my daughter, a soul-crushing meeting or two and the constant deep abiding love that Sue and I share. The dance requires all of these things and the hard part is knowing that you want more of some and less of the other. That’s what wakes you up every day. That’s what keeps you wondering what’s next.

In other words–A balance.

Onward.