Today I stood outside during the Recess hour as some of my students ran and played in the blustery winds. The sky was blazing silver, trimmed in flashings of gold. The frigid North air was bristling with tempestuous energy, bending the groaning treetops and setting loose whirls of leaves spinning like wild dervishes. The children ran and hooted, a few of them throwing a football to each other and laughing.
I stood straight, legs slightly apart and hands shoved into the cozy recesses of my heavy sailor`s coat, watching my students enjoy the fruits of childhood`s labors. Sometimes laughing at their revelry and other times smiling wistfully… remembering my own halcyon days of a dozen Autumns hence and then some.
Quietly, I stood and watched over them.
Returning indoors to a few chaotic minutes of temporal displacement between the comparatively uninhibited freedoms permitted out-of-doors and the careful constraints of the civilized classroom, the children wound down into calmer leisures before the next academic period.
Calming, calming… calm. Now, back to work.
The rest of the afternoon proceeded in its normal manner. Agenda, schedule, lesson plans adhered to and curriculum administered. Smiles and laughter. Teaching and learning – a beautiful dance.
Shortly before classes were about to let out for the day, one of my students presented me with a picture he`d drawn… a picture he`d drawn of me. It was like a photograph through the eyes and hands of an earnest child, with some details embellished and others all-too-accurate.
He drew me as being tall and broad, taking up more than half of the length of the paper, with my legs out in a narrow chevron and my arms almost indistinguishable from the bulk of the jacket… my face consisted of two large dark eyes and a small mouth, with a very slight smile. All of it underneath a black tangled mass of hair that seemed to flow in all directions at once.
I could see so much of what he sees in me contained within this picture, a palpable strength enmeshed within an elusive tenderness beneath a grim and homely visage.
His interpretation was a true one, I hope. May I strive to become it well.