The world is quiet. Not silent, but quiet. A cat purring next to my computer. The wind whispering. Cars whooshing along the highway in the distance. The clock in the living room chiming quarters of hours. The refrigerator humming in the kitchen. Occasional goldfinch singing through the screen door leading to the back yard.
The quiet is unremarkable, except that this is my new background music. No more 25 child voices all talking at one time. No more assemblies with 600 kids. No more bells. No more intercom announcements interrupting constantly throughout the day. The barrage of noise is gone.
The ending was sweet and clean. I moved out of my classroom last Friday to make room for the teacher moving in behind me - three plants, four boxes, and five large shopping bags. Everything else had been passed on to the next generation. So on Monday, the last day, all I had to do was enjoy my kids, say goodbye to my friends, and do one final checking-out with my principal.
The kids cried. My principal cried. I did not. Although I came close when my friend and teammate, Kari, read Robert Frost's The Road Less Traveled as my team said goodbye to me in front of the whole school. I was emotional, but not sad. I was ready - as ready as I've ever been for anything. I was happy - not one single regret, loose thread, or unresolved conflict.
I hear the echoes of the voices and the laughter and the noises. I see the shadows of the many faces. I feel my teacher sea legs adjusting automatically to swells and waves and storms that are now behind me. The land under my feet tilts and spins a bit as my body adjusts to the stillness. The disorientation is not unpleasant, but it does require attention. Nothing is automatic any more.
While I wait for the spinning to stop, I move through the days slowly. Careful not to lose any, but just as careful not to fill them with busy-ness that will disturb this lovely stillness. I clean a little, weed a bit, go for long walks with Toby. I do crosswords, read magazines, sit on the patio and marvel at the abundance that is my life in this moment. I prepare for Saturday's party. I allow myself the anticipatory thrill of my 40 year reunion and a road trip to Canada later in the summer with Walt.
The sky beckons me. I feel its pull and call. My wings itch to spread and lift. Stories, ideas, plans, words and more words, possibilities - waiting for me. But for now, until the earth stops moving in remembered ocean waves under my feet, I will be content with stillness. And I will savor this joy.
photo from Flickr