I have been given the rarest of gifts today: the gift of time. Mother Nature has capitalized on the confluence of the arctic dip and the unnatural warmth of the great lake, bringing us air that is too cold to breathe, and fine, silken snow that has turned the streets into slick, dangerous terrain. Take this and add in a weary populace, a shortage of patience and people, an unusually green December and we have our first snow delay of the school year.
In the Time Before, this weather combination would not have warranted much of a response from the Powers That Be. Perhaps we would have been given a sympathetic nod on the way through the doors, just barely on time and scrambling to make it to our classrooms before the slow trickle of students streamed in from sluggish busses and parents’ cars that were reluctant to start. Maybe we would have found humor in seeing our misery mirrored in the faces of our colleagues. The camaraderie would have carried us far and we would have huddled over lukewarm cups of coffee, lamenting the too-long winter with record breaking snow totals and temperatures that defeat even the best ice-melt on the market. Students would chatter about their treacherous journey in and then beg to go out to play for just a few minutes during lunch recess…and, occasionally, some hardy soul would even volunteer to go out to supervise.
But this morning, the call was made early by the superintendent and I settle into this rare gift, savoring the minutes and breathing deep the calm that I can extend for just a few more hours. I am writing and sipping hot, fresh coffee and contemplating my yoga practice that awaits me. I know, already, that this gift is beginning to fade, shrinking with every click from the clock’s analogue hand. I resist the urge to check the time, staying in the space I have been given. Similar to the dreams that trail off with each jarring alarm (because there are many “snoozes” to move through before I am fully out of my unconscious life), I am simultaneously full of joyful gratitude and preemptive grief. The pressure to appreciate, fully, the time I have been gifted threatens to overshadow the time itself.