I came up to the school doors yesterday and saw my reflection in the door. I got my phone out of my bag and shot this single frame.
The implications of this photo are particularly multifaceted this week.
The pull of the outdoors vs the indoors. Summer is calling me out of this building. The building threatens to overtake me and erase who I really am. Yet I am packed and ready to enter, and by the same token I can just turn and walk away. But I won't.
The school hallway has made deep inroads into my being: my student's pains and joys fill my soul. I cannot escape the emotions that they share with me. I am saddened by their fears and their heartbreaks, I am giddy with their excitement and I am exhausted by their neediness. Yet, I can't wait to get their everyday and see the growth in their art and their lives. Students and the adults in my life have no idea how their actions and words affect my emotions of that moment. I literally take on their feelings and mirror them with mine.
There are many paths I could have taken and I have chosen this one. 9 months of the year I follow that hall to my room and later to the elementary school. 9 months of the year I teach, take care of, give affection, redirect, hold my tongue, advise, and commiserate. 9 months of doing what needs to be done. I give everything I have to them and I leave every night unnecessarily emotional at this time of the year. I am running out of soul to hand over to them and I need to rebuild.
My summer path is one that is varied and usually diverse. I follow paths that scare me sometimes, and this summer will be no different. I may do more alone traveling, as it seems I might have to get used to hiking alone. I am going to get a kayak so I can also be on the river alone. While I always crave the company of others, sometimes I have to have solitude. This tends to surprise people, but who doesn't need that time to yourself? It can be really hard for me but being alone is what allows me to discover my best and most authentic self. Getting out for a bike ride or a walk after school, like right away after school, lets me get centered again and chases the demons of the days away.
So I will be following the interior path yet for a few more weeks. The emotions are running high right now, the seniors have phoned it in and are mentally done. The rest of the students' activity level rises with the brightness of the sun, as they can feel the pull of summer as well. I have friends who will not be working with me next year and that emotional path is something I do not want to travel down yet.... I keep hoping for miracles.
So, I need to get ready for my day, to follow my path. Resist the urge to turn around and run to the woods, to the great outdoors, to the road that is calling me. The calls are getting louder. My summer is awaiting, but my kids need me for now.
I hope your path today is joyful.