A remarkable thing happened on the way to school today. The board decided to close the entire system due to an impending storm. This ‘snow-ma-geddon’ was to start early and go late – in other words a whole day event. Snow, rain and ice are all expected within a 24-hour period.
I know for many of you, this is a ‘duh’ moment. Most boards close for at least a couple of days each year for weather. However, having been teaching in Toronto for 22 years, this is only the third full shut down that I’ve experienced. Twice kids were sent home midway through the day and once we were required to report to any school that we could get to. But this, to have all the schools closed for an imminent weather event, is remarkable. To emphasize, a weather event has never before impacted the expectation that I’m to find and get to a school in the board. Never.
After turning around, what happened on the way home was incredible. It was a silent, delicious, thoughtful drive, full of possibilities. Suddenly, the day was open to an entirely new set of opportunities! No swearing in the halls, no arguments about attire, no bells, no rushing about and definitely no nagging about unfinished homework. I should tell you that I drive a long way – every day – to teach. I am ninety kilometres away from my school and leave very early to get there.
The first thought was about snuggling in bed again. Ohh, and then an extra cup of coffee in a favourite chair. Then, my mind wandering went to time on the elliptical, the meditation cushion, the book I’m reading, the overdue emails, the time I would respectfully spend on PD or unit planning. Then it was back to playing the guitar, taking a few photos and, obviously, writing. What a drive it was.
Now, a mere hour later, the day looks small and without direction. What happened? Time! There’s not enough time to do all these things!! There are dishes to wash and cleaning that needs to be done. What about the long weekend planning that must happen? The floors? The cat litter? And then, there’s the snow. The snow! Right, the whole reason for being home. How many times will the driveway need to be shovelled?
The responsibilities are now outweighing the thrill of the closure. How did this pleasure turn to worry so quickly? Is this the consequence for relishing an unexpected midweek hiatus? Breathe. Slow this train down and the day might be saveable. Pick three – just three things - three responsible choices and three nourishing choices for the day.
So, the snow is number one for the responsible side, reading for luxury. Number two might be…the long weekend planning and cooking, exercising for self-fulfillment. And number three is washing the dishes, and then…but wait… to decide this last moment of personal pleasure means that the day is set. It’s probably better to leave it open – open to change and flexible to the opportunities that may present themselves. Oh yes, this is a day to enjoy!