I walked along the sidewalk, feeling the warmth of the early spring sun on my face. Through my tears I noticed that the buds are starting to form on the trees. Songbirds have returned to the neighborhood and around lunchtime is one the times they make their rounds of the feeders. We are allowed 30 minutes every day for lunch, off the clock, to use however we see fit. I can head out the door, down my street, past my house, turn and walk past my neighbors house, turn again and walk the loop through my neighborhood and be back at school in 8 minutes flat. A few years ago several of my coworkers used to join me, but they decided that I walk too fast, and so I wander out alone at the start of my lunch break each day that the weather isn't too bitter cold or rainy.
This year, it is the only chance I get to be outside all day. Some days it is a chance to clear my head of all the noise that is swarming around in our classroom. A break from the questions and the whining and the bickering. Some days it is the fresh air that I crave. I walk along just observing all there is to see around me. Noticing anything that is going on in the neighborhood and enjoying the sun, or walking a little quicker to escape the cold or wind. Some days it is an opportunity to pound out the frustrations of my morning, whether it started off badly at home, or began once I walked in the doors. Those days I find that I walk briskly the whole time and feel refreshed and better when I get back to school.
Other days, like today, it is an escape from the prying eyes of my coworkers. A chance to cry out the hurt and anguish that I've been holding inside all morning. The opportunity to process whatever had transpired earlier, and deal with it without having to explain to anyone what's wrong. In light of all the awful things that have happened across the country this week, it seamed to be so petty and small, but life doesn't stop hurting because people do evil things or because law makers make foolish decisions. A chance to think about how hard it all is sometimes, and if I have the strength to keep doing this. Some days I'm just not sure.