August 31, 2006
It was only a dream. Only . . . except that it was heartbreakingly real. Except that I awoke with an exquisite ache lingering throughout my too-tangible being. I was left only with snippets of dream-moments . . . and a painful longing to return to the dream. There is no whole to it, as far as memories go, just bits and pieces. But what I do remember is a soaringly beautiful saga-like story. And so, upon remembering the dream since and being unable to grasp ahold of it once again, I cry with the ache of it. I even put a notebook beside my bed the next night and concentrated on the remaining memories of it right before falling asleep, in hopes that I could re-dream it somehow and be ready to write it down before rising in the morning.
I wonder what made this one so striking. In the past I used to dream often, and with great detail and depth. I would write them down and spend countless hours analyzing them, wondering about them. But I do not dream any more. Or at least I do not remember the dreams. Perhaps this is what touched me so–the loss of past dreamlives. Something in the recent several years of working, stressing, and generally attempting to live a responsible “adult” life has also stealthily stolen my ability to dream.
But maybe I have taken ahold of dreams again, in some subconscious awakening. Although I have not been successful in re-dreaming that one, so lovely dream, I have been dreaming since, for several nights in a row now. There is hope, I suppose, for even the most dream-deprived among us.
August 30, 2006
Mmmm . . . I love the smell of rich neighborhoods
–from one of my runners shortly after we started out this afternoon, on our first run in a nearby gated community of depressingly [to me, at least] cookie-cutter homes.
Initially, I just laughed at the amusing absurdity of the statement. Since then, however, I’ve been pondering it and wondering if there may be some disturbing deeper significance behind the words . . . then again, perhaps it’s just par for the course when it comes to random comments from prep school teenage girls??
August 25, 2006
We have taken to telling stories as we run. At first it was an unconscious action on my part, as I used our run to relay tales of the day that for whatever reason had come to my mind at the time. When I realized it was becoming a habit, however, I became intentional about it, as it seemed to be an appropriate way to both bond as a team and to engage them in a way that distracts from the physical woes of exhaustion, heat, aches, and pains. So now I hint about the stories of the day before we begin and then tell full, drawn-out tales as we run—I also invite each girl to tell her own that may come to mind.
Yesterday one of my runners admitted that she had a story to tell. Rethinking by the time we started practice, she said that no, actually she was too embarrassed to tell everyone. Further into the run her asthma forced her to take a walking break, at which point I stopped to check on and then walk with her. Curious, I mentioned her story again and she said that she just didn’t want her peers to know—yet. She suspected that it would get around soon enough . . .
Turns out she had lost her patience with one of her peers that day in gym class. They were playing ball and she had grown uncharacteristically impatient in the heat of the competitive moment. After a series of affronts, he got on her last nerve and she [having never before done such a thing], without thinking, just reached over and relieved him of his shorts. It shocked her, I think, more than anyone else, at the time. A moment of confusion passed before he shouted a threat of telling the headmaster.
So here she was, at the end of the day, fearing the moment in which she would be summoned to the principal’s office. Clearly shocked at herself, she assured me that she didn’t mean to do it, and that she had never been disobedient. And now she worried that her “spotless” high school record would be ruined forever . . .I laughed, and assured her that I did not think she had anything to worry about. In fact, I suspected that the headmaster would also be a bit amused by it. There may need to be some sort of disciplinary action taken, for appearances sake, but I really did not think she had to worry about her future. What I did not tell her is that I am secretly rather proud of my girl’s gutsy spontaneity :-)
August 12, 2006
I have now officially entered into the adventure of coaching a start-up Cross Country team and, one week into it, I am already growing proud of, and attached to, my girls. It would be wise, however, to let go of any aspirations I may have had towards championship trophies [ok, so maybe I never have actually had any of those :-)]. The following tale ought to demonstrate this necessity pretty effectively . . .
On our first practice together this week, I began our run together asking if they had done their “homework,” as I had called each of them a week earlier and asked them to begin easing into running before we met together. One of the girls promptly responded that she had “almost” done it.
“Almost? What does that mean?,” I queried.
“Well I got ready to go out, and put on the running shoes I had just got since you said to get some. Then I was trying to decide what else to wear and I looked in the mirror. And I noticed that I looked pretty good in my sports bra. So I walked around in my sports bra for a while, feeling proud of myself for heading out to run. Then I realized I was hungry so I ate some potato chips instead . . . I really did mean to run,” she repeated.
And you know, I believe she did intend to. My private amusement did not stop me from sternly pushing them in practice that day though, like I imagine a good winning coach should :-)
August 11, 2006
The end of Session #2 [all boys] of Creative Pages led me to, once again, request anonymous feedback from my students. And, once again, the results provided some happy amusement . . . :
1. What did you like best about “Creative Pages.”
2. What did you like least, or what would you change about it?
1. The story.
2. Having it outside. [sure enough, soaring heat indexes had already forced us indoors halfway through the session]
1. Painting the book. 2. Nothing.
1. The different art forms we got to try out.
2. Nothing. Nothing at all. [In my head I imagine this response in a proper young British accent :-)]