My neighborhood is interesting. Some homes are owned by older couples or single retired people, others by small families, yet more by young, childless professionals. And this time of year, our differences are expressed in our yard work habits–or lack thereof. On my run this morning, I passed yards freshly shorn and gardens recently mulched. I passed overgrown gardens, under-pruned gardens, and several front lawns practically overrun with dandelions. Much to my horror, I also witnessed several homes that had ‘planted’ fake plastic flowers in pots about their yard in some clearly misguided attempt to celebrate the spring holidays (when really, I can’t think of any worse way to celebrate the resurrection of one’s savior than by adoring anything with dusty, petroleum based ‘tulips’).
But whether well-tended or sorely neglected, all of the homes and gardens in my part of Pennsylvania are saying the same thing–spring is well under way. And, as I’m sure you all know by now, that completely freaks me out.
But that freak out is not my point. You see, as I ran, freaking out about the daffodils and dandelions as I was, I realized something–I’ve finally started measuring time like a normal person. I can see that the days, weeks, and months are passing because the seasons are changing. That’s normal. That’s what I wanted, way back when I started thinking about taking some time away from teaching. And it happened–but it took me until now to notice.
I guess I shouldn’t be shocked that it took a while to adjust my concept of time. After all, I did spend eighteen years as a student and eight years as a teacher measuring time by class periods, quarters, and semesters. I broke my days up into 44 minute chunks and only looked forward to the next chunk (or, more accurately, to the end of that next chunk). I knew that if there was this fund raiser going on, it must be fall; if it was time for the yearly musical, it must be spring. September meant stress, December a flurry of chaos followed by a week of peace. The winter thaw was less about a groundhog seeing his shadow and more about a marathon of state testing.
But not this year. Not for me. This year spring means budding trees, baseball, and the yard work that I should be doing. What a strange but wonderful way to tell time.