Friday, March 30, 2007

April is the Cruelest Month...

Spring Fever is a disease I have battled my whole life. My third grade classroom had a bank of windows that overlooked the four squares court and then opened onto a rolling hill that was Blueberry Hill Elementary School's playing field. I would stare out those windows imagining all the more important things I could be doing instead of reciting multiplication tables--like giving dignified funeral services for dead baby birds. And there were flowers to pick in neighbor's lawns only to leave at their doorsteps (after ringing the bell and running away). I would usually be snapped out of my daydreaming quite literally by the tall, skinny, pasty, evil Mrs. Santos snapping her fingers in my face to wake me out of my alternate, and much more pleasant, universe. On a side note, I still hate being snapped at. I think it is, along with being shushed, one of the most degrading acts you can do to a person, especially a child.

But back to Spring. I have a hard time focusing this time of year. I get restless. I want to be outside. I want to play. I work at a school and often feel sorry for our bouncing off the walls kids in our windowless but very cool converted warehouse building--totally neat to work in but I think the architects forgot that they where making a building that would be inhabited by hormonally crazed middle-schoolers--with its polished concrete floors and exposed beam ceilings it looks more like a gen-x multimedia studio than a school. Apparently, our first Director, the program designer, wasn't into recess (can you say kid who was always picked last in dodge ball?). So we as of yet don't have a field. Understand why I feel sorry for these kids? Instead of snapping my fingers or yelling at them for schoolyard behavior, I usually say something like, "I know you guys are excited for Spring Break but...this isn't appropriate behavior for the halls." I mean, they don't even have the bank of windows for daydreaming.

On the flip side, working at a school has the benefit of real breaks, like the kind you have as a kid. Just when I think I can't take one more day inside, I get two weeks for Spring Break, so I can go out and play. Now, I'm not searching for dead birds or giving caterpillars rides on my swing set, instead I spend the days planting flowers, tooling around the neighborhood, or drinking mimosas while lounging in the backyard. Play is good and it feeds the mind. I would go a step further and say that daydreaming out the school window was just about as important to my growth as the silly gold star I could get if I got all the words right on the spelling bee.

Isn't that what Spring is all about? The budding potential of things to come. The excitement of what will be. The beginning of things.


havemycake said...

Blueberry Hill Elem. School, really? your childhood sounds super-ideal. this post makes me feel all nostagic-y.

i like spring in miss. and being back in miss. for spring. the skies are purple-y and there are warm rains. but sometimes it smells like fish-ick!

have you ever noticed that LA kinda smells like cat urine in the spring? i think maybe there's a particular kind of tree...

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