Monday, January 4, 2016

First Thaw

After the first snow, quickly in my neighborhood, comes the first thaw. Looking out the window, I watch the snow melt rain down from the branches. Not so long ago, three hours perhaps, these branches sagged inches lower with the snow and ice coating them.  As their load lightens, branches reach toward the thin-growing-stronger light of the sun.

Memory rolls back.... Sitting in the teachers' lunchroom of a school sometime in my first month. Many prior lunches were spent eating alone in my classroom, doing paperwork or writing lessons or rearranging furniture. This day I had forgotten my lunch at home. I recall thinking about skipping the meal altogether, then realizing I was hungry. So I followed a couple of other teachers in the direction I knew was the students' lunchroom, hoping they were going to the teachers' lunchroom. Chatter everywhere around me as I stand in line to buy my lunch. I feel frozen and weighed down. I am the 'new kid on the block' in this setting. How do I fit in? What do I say? I take my tray and sit at a table as yet unoccupied, believing it would be safer to have people join me rather than the other way around. Teachers crowd in to the other tables, taking a chair from my table, then another. I feel myself shrinking inward, wondering if I will ever come to this lunchroom again. As with that ray of sunshine starting the dripping thaw, when another teacher sits beside me, I feel my limbs lighten up. He smiles as he introduces himself, says what he teaches, and asks me if I'm enjoying the school. I know the feeling of that first thaw, the gentle warmth inviting a lifting and opening. And it is enough.

When did you feel yourself frozen? What started the thaw? How did you recognize the shift in yourself? What did it mean for you? What circumstances bring you back to that sense of freezing? How have you recognized another's frozen moment? How have you assisted in the moments of thaw?

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