Sow There! Time again for a change of focus, Oct. 16, 2020

Hyacinths bloom after about 10 weeks.
October 16, 2020 at 3:35 a.m.

It happened again.

The day-to-day I thought I knew was turned upside down.

The first week of October, I told my fifth graders that we would soon be together in our classroom. I know I was a bit giddy with expectation, wondering what we would look like “in real life,” and how our voices would sound when muffled through fabric masks. Oh, the things we could and would do when we were not muted, tiny boxes on a computer screen!

Then the district needed me to continue teaching online, in seventh grade.

The kids cried over Zoom. I cried over Zoom.

Over the weekend I ate mounds of chocolate, filling that hole in my heart.

Yep. Just another adjustment that is made in the name of a pandemic.

The majority of students at my school returned to campus Monday. I’ll remain in my classroom, performing the “Miss Hacking” video show for students who will continue learning online and need to adjust to new programming.

On that first new day, lunch rolled around for the students who were excited to be back in a brick-and-mortar classroom. I stood at my desk and watched my fifth graders parade toward the cafeteria. The windows of the classroom are tinted, so they didn’t see me struggling to see if I spotted “my kids” behind their fabric masks.

They’re just a few doors away, but it did not seem appropriate to visit. I would feel like an ex-wife or a former bandmate, interfering with their new lives with their soon-to-be beloved new teachers. A few have sought me out, and we stood at my classroom door, hugging by curling our hands into the shape of a heart.

Some things can partially fill a void, such as several bags of hyacinth bulbs. (Heather Hacking — Contributed)

The switch hit me hard, probably because in this isolation of pandemic, those kids were the central focus of my life. I also don’t like when losses in life come suddenly. It felt like we had something special, had built a strong foundation despite the pandemic. We literally found common denominators.

At least we finished the novel we started reading the first day of school.

Undoubtedly, I will soon fall in love with my new seventh grade Zoom children, all 65 of them in two sections of Language Arts and History. They’re still kids, only taller and a bit wiser. After one week, they must already have learned their teacher is a goofball.

Another upside, and of course there is always an upside, is that I will have more distance from the possibility of getting the coronavirus. This means I will be able to visit my parents.

To celebrate this new confinement/assignment, I’m visiting Dad this weekend and he scored that entrance pass to the Yosemite Valley.

The wither of autumn weather

As always, when life gets busy, my plants suffer. I remembered to mow the lawn before the grass was too tall to manage with the electric mower. Even though the weather has been warm, the days are shorter, which means less stress for those plants that deserve more than relentless sunshine. When I went to water recently, I can see that several plants have died.

Early August is the time to buy too many bags of bulbs at Costco. I spent a bundle and will have plenty of hyacinths and daffodil bulbs to fill the containers holding brown stems and leaves.

It’s funny how we can be superstitious about the loss of plants.

My friend Antonio and I chatted recently about the greenery in my classroom. He said he had a plant once, which he had received from a girlfriend. She warned him that if they broke up, the plant would die.

They broke up. The plant died. He attributed this to the loss of his love.

My thought was that when she wasn’t around, the plant stopped receiving water.

Years ago, another friend received a lovely plant from a beau she had just jilted. She didn’t want anything more to do with him, and I was given the plant.

Every year, when that plant bloomed on my windowsill, I knew that the beau still carried a torch for my friend. Sure enough, he found a happy mate and the plant died.

Last February, I received a Daphne Odora from a man for whom I had a wild crush. He’s moved on to other adventures, but I really hope the plant will stick around.

I brought two hyacinth bulbs to my classroom, and roots are growing into the water of the specialty vases I use to force bulbs indoors. I had hoped my fifth graders would be there when they bloomed in about 10 weeks.

Maybe that’s the way for teachers and gardeners. When you spend a lot of time nurturing children or plants, then life happens and it’s time for change … there’s something new and beautiful to put into focus.

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One Response to Sow There! Time again for a change of focus, Oct. 16, 2020

  1. Catherine says:

    Too beautiful and moving…

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