On Saturday I got to sit outside.
I was fighting allergies or sickness or some state of general non-well-being, so I stayed home while my husband went to visit with some friends and relatives. I took a shower, made some tea, and went to sit in our backyard and read.
It was the first sense of sheer contentment I'd felt in a long time. It wasn't too hot or too noisy. I wasn't forgetting a meeting or forgetting the tools for a teaching lesson. I was just reading.
On Sunday I'd finished my other book so I grabbed Study Driven by Katie Wood Ray and went outside to read again. Same feeling. The wind blew gently around me, rustling the leaves; birds flew around, hopping into the drip tray under our grill (what in the world are they finding there?), and I read.
I thought about writing. I thought about myself as a writer, I thought of Antonio's recent blossoming into a poet and then a non-fiction animal enthusiast, I thought of Leslie's recent foray into finding a clear and very funny voice as a writer. I thought of our first grade writing workshop. I thought.
The more I read, the clearer a picture I had in my head about where our class could go next in writing, and how we could help each other get there.
Today was Monday. What did I think about during my free moments today? I thought about exactly when I could get home so I could sit outside in my backyard and read. I still had ten more chapters to go in Study Driven. There was so much more thinking to be done!
When I got home today, after doing dishes and straightening up a few things, I did get outside to read more, to think more. I read another three chapters and felt refreshed. I felt inspired.
I've realized this: sometimes I am rushing around too much, getting this done, or that done; photocopying, cutting, sorting... And what I'm not doing -- what I'm not doing nearly enough -- is sitting. And reading. And thinking.
In the current educational climate, I know it's not an easy choice, but it's a choice I have to make more often. Thinking.
What a novelty.