Did I just have the best day? It’s possible. Day 341 of 365. Way to sneak it in before the buzzer, 2017!
On Thursdays I teach mostly 7th grade classes plus one section of 8th grade. The odds are already stacked in favor of Thursdays. The 7th grade classes and I explored poetry styles relating to human connections with nature. In first period, as we were taking notes on the theme of beauty as shown in Pablo Neruda’s “Ode to Enchanted Light,” a student asked, “Ms. Harmon, do you care about us?” Without thinking of any other possible response, I answered, “I love you guys; of course I care.” (Unfortunately, the student’s reply was, “Oh, because if you cared you wouldn’t be making us take notes…”) Even so, my sentiment was genuine and I’m happy I got an organic occasion to share the information with them. Even if they’re artistically-unappreciative punks, lol.
The classes today flew past. Even my period of 8th graders only bore witness to me shouting over their symphony of voices, like, twice. I dramatically crushed a timer that was habitually unreliable, much to their blood-lusty delight. They accomplished an appreciable amount of the lesson and even scored a class average of 90% on a quiz about The Drummer Boy of Shiloh. Who are these goons?!
I had so few behavioral concerns and finished today’s planning so quickly that I was able to leave work before 4. I raced home, threw the dog and some layers into the truck, and made it out to the conservation easement bordering JTNP 15 minutes before sundown. Scout and I pedaled out way up a fire road to a windy campsite overlooking the Morongo Basin to the north and the gateway to JT on the south. The strong wind enveloped us in the scent of desert flora (a welcome change from the odor of dust that usually lingers on the tongue). The sky faded through its evening watercolors as we raced back down the road. I swooped down the double track with Scout in the lead following the opposite lines in a graceful dance we’ve choreographed over many rides and near misses.
I was home and settling onto the couch in my pajama pants by 5:30. “What should we do now, Scout?” I asked my shadow. I hadn’t been home and without to-do list at this hour in many evenings. My phone rang. A coworker stated she was at the Inn having dinner and a drink if I was interested in joining. I liked that she didn’t pose it as a question. “Sorry, Scout!” I crowed as I slid back into my pants and threw a fleece over my shirt, slipping out the door. At a small table against the wall, Caileen and I shared a side salad, glasses of the house red, and the most enriching conversation. We laughed so hard we cried. We made plans for future rides and trips to Big Bear. We ordered desserts of chocolate mousse and vanilla ice cream, and enjoyed them by the heaping spoonful as the live musician played “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from the corner. Nearing 7, we hugged in the parking lot and sped off in our differing directions. I was home in my pajamas with Scout by 7:10.
This day is what I imagined adulthood could be like. I feel many things always but today I felt new things. I felt competent, and I felt professional. I felt confident, and I felt independent. I felt energized and rejuvenated. I felt relaxed. I felt like who I want to someday be. I felt how I hope more often to feel.
I feel like I’ve just had the best day.