|One Year Ago|
We leave this afternoon for outdoor school on the mountain where Randle is the closest town. It's bad enough that I lose this entire weekend to the preparation and departure, but the rain splatting outside my window taunts with the promise of what the next week holds: hours of being cold and damp, days of nothing but brown food (iceberg lettuce the only green food, and that only for one meal), no time off, homesick kids smelling like wet puppies.
It's so easy to be optimistic and spiritual when the sun shines. Even when life slides sideways, if the air is warm and golden, and I know I can come home to dry clothes, a good meal, and the comfort of my own bed, hope always wins the day. I'm having a really difficult time being sunny about this coming week.
I've done what I can to prepare. New rain gear, including new boots with owls on them. Apples and healthy snacks. Extra bedding. Until the rain, I was even looking forward to this year's camp. Mostly because this will be the first one I'm not in pain, or sick. And for the chance to spend time in the woods with my class, with whom I fall more in love every day.
My sense of dread is as heavy as wet clothes. Walt's reassurances and offers to help only annoy. If there was any graceful way to not go, I would choose it.
But there's no way out that allows me to be the person I want to be. If I can somehow find of my sense of adventure, trust that I can not only endure but also enjoy, face each moment as it arrives rather than deciding (knowing, even) ahead how bad it will be—and there is the key. Not just to the coming week, but to everything.
I don't know what gifts the next few days are going to bring. I do know they're not going to be what I'd pictured, or wanted. I don't know where I'll find the grit to be cheerful and happy and to laugh at the misery that will surely try to dominate. There's even a chance I won't. And maybe that fear is the root of my dread.
A Pema Chodron quote is pinned to the bulletin board to my right: "You are the sky. Everything else—it's just the weather." I set out into this day, and into the week, claiming the sky beyond the weather, and choosing to be grateful for the opportunity to do just that.