I hadn’t slept in until sunrise for four months. Usually I’m out of the house by 6:20 am and on the way to work well before the birds start chirping. Then one April morning I woke up with brilliant light streaming in and noticed all the windows were dirty. High school teachers in my district aren’t exactly nocturnal, but sometimes it can feel that way. In November the government gives back an hour of the morning light, just before nature takes it away for the winter. Then in March we get a glimpse of the early gleaming before we Spring Forward and the mornings feel gloomy once again. I read symbolism into everything. Dirty windows equals unclear vision. If this is my time to shine, I need to see those little green buds unfurling on the trees around my house. It feels urgent this year. Maybe because I’ve accepted an English Language Teaching Fellowship for next year and am moving to Laos in August. I was offered the same Fellowship in 2014 but couldn’t accept because the timing was wrong. I’ve dreamed of this moment ever since. At school, they’re already interviewing for my replacement. I’m worried that our new president will cut off the State Department funds before I have a signed contract in my hands. Maybe because the weather started to change too early – in February – then everything froze again. The daffodils, cherry blossoms, and crocuses almost died off. Why is it that the things we wait for the longest are the best? The hope that seems most fragile is the one that nurtures us. Through the windows suddenly I see neighbors with new babies in strollers, dogs I don’t recognize, and isn’t that Hannah home from Holland with a friend? Let me go say hello.
Spring Break starts today and now I finally have time to reflect on all the changes this year will bring. April is not the cruelest month, but I’ve got to get those windows cleaned.