Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Solstice Sunrise

I got up at 4:30 to witness sunrise on this auspicious day. The idea came from the "How-to of the Day" app on my home page, yesterday entitled, "How to Celebrate Solstice...No. 1. Witness sunrise." The perfect place to do it popped into my head immediately: on top of Zodiac Hill at Gasworks Park. The man-made hill is topped with an intricate mosaic zodiac, in a park that has dramatic displays of rusting boilers and cracking columns from the days when energy was created here, across a lake from downtown.

From the north, the park pedundas into Lake Union whose south end is rimmed with office towers. I took a picture of the rising sun reflecting off one of the thousands of windows. It's not so dramatic as the top one, but I like the form and muted colors.

It was before 5 when I arrived at the park, a short drive from home. I'd imagined that there would be dozens of druids there to await the moment, but as I began to trudge up the hill, I only saw one man, walking around with short steps, making small gestures as if talking to himself. As I went up one side, he must have gone down the other, for the place was empty when I arrived. But not for long.

As I stood at the edge of the hill and sussed out the spot where the sun would rise, I saw three women headed my way. Looking at them out of the corner of my eye, I was prepared to nod a greeting as they drew closer, but they didn't look in my direction. A few minutes later I glanced behind me and saw that they had joined hands, with eyes closed, in the center of the zodiac sculpture that is inlaid on the small plaza at the hilltop.

A few minutes later a young couple began making their way in our direction under the lightening sky. I heard them laugh as they dallied upwards, hand in hand. Only a few other people were then visible on the grounds of the park, maybe a hundred yards away, all of us in some way awaiting sunrise with a casual, but private, expectancy. Around us were the sounds of a city beginning to come to life for another day, and one that promised to be beautiful.

It was hard to define the exact moment. A point on the horizon got brighter and brighter, behind an occasional truck on the I-5 bridge. Then there came a time when the brightness became a gleam and the longest day of the year had officially begun.

I took in the scene and snapped pictures, the couple chatted quietly, yet playfully, as he shot a video on his iPhone. On top of the zodiac, the trio stood shoulder-to-shoulder, with burning punks in their hands, facing the rising sun. Time stretched slowly, ineluctably, into a new season.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Fine Performance

What a great year-end performance each of my 4th grade students gave as a young person living on an English manor in 1255. Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! is the name of the piece--a Newbery book in 2007.

To the compliments from parents, I responded with the truth: all I told the kids was to speak loud enough, slow enough, and tell your story. They did.

It was one of those times when I felt exceptionally gratified to be a teacher. What a great group of kids I had this year--so much care for each other and for learning.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Four Weeks After Surgery

Yesterday, concerned about a hard bulge above the main incision on my belly, I called the young doc, and he told me what it was. Nothing to worry about, he said, it's just a seroma, some fluid that'll disperse over the next couple of months.

It's been two days since I've been back to work, not counting Memorial Day when I went in for six hours. The kids put up a big WELCOME BACK banner. Many of the girls gave me a hug. Boys yelled and gave me high fives.

My stamina is there--11-hour days, both--but I'm leaking and getting sore.

The month I took for recovery is like a dream now, in the past. Now, it's about getting through the last few weeks of school, getting a trainer to help me get back in shape, and then vacationing and looking for the future in Mexico.