The past month has felt like a massive convergence of people, places, tasks, ideas, thoughts, and pretty much everything else. Each day, avalanchings of oldness and newness and all of the associated paperwork and logistics seem to come lashing down onto my head, with little time or space for breath, movement, air.
Maybe it’s been the start of a new school year, with all of the associated growing pains accentuated by the many new faculty and staff (who are, it should be said, absolutely awesome). Maybe it’s been seeing friends come back from Asia once again, and seeing my students go off to college all across China, hopes and dreams weightlessly, endlessly fluttering, direction and existence subject to even the mildest of gentle spring breezes. Maybe it’s been thinking about the next year or two on the daily walk to school – routines, in the simple fact of their existence, tend to bring out all the boundless unplumbed depths of curiosity and wanderlust and wonder within me – the apparent solidity of the present and the liquidity (or airiness) of the future and its possibilities and the adventurings and experiences, themselves currently more unknown than the darkest sides of the most distant moons, that time will bring.
Regardless, it’s been a busy month. I’ve been planning a number of new China trips for my school, coaching cross-country, running the outdoor education trips, and taking three classes at three different schools on the side. Additional commitments will be starting soon. I’ve also been trying to enjoy the weekends as much as possible: biking, backpacking, running, and generally getting outdoors as much as possible have kept me in as sane of a state as I’ve ever been privileged to experience. I’ve been lucky to have been on a backpacking trip to Kings Canyon, a bike tour in the Santa Cruz mountains, a camp(ing) trip in the Russian River woods (albeit with 6th graders) and too many long crazy runs to remember. It is these experiences where I am able to process what is going on around me at a pace I can manage: not the pressured I-need-to-find-something-intelligent-to-say-NOW pace of class discussion, or the somnolently inglorious waltz of life in the office, but a slow, steady cadence, unhurried but continuous and persistent – something that will get there in the end.
There’s also lots of excitement coming up: a trip to the Ansel Adams Wilderness is on the docket for this weekend, followed by more potential trips in October-November and Thanksgiving in Philadelphia. Cross-country season is in full swing, with teams having competed well at the first meet, and I will be running my first marathon in Humboldt next month. Trips to China are coming together – more of them than ever before. My mind, effectively, seems less adrift than spastically jumping from one thing to another. Just as everything has converged, my mind seems to have derailed, or at least jumps rails continuously, as if searching for the right gauge and track. And yet, the locomotive rushes on, September already nearing its end, and with no clear gauge or direction in sight.
But luckily, all the options look promising. I can only hope that time slows down just enough to permit some degree of appreciation, relaxation, reflection, calm.