Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Those Lazy, Crazy Days of Winter

Today is one of those lazy, crazy days in the Philadelphia area when having more than a foot of snow lying on the ground outside managed to zap away any trace of motivation I may otherwise have had.  Here it is Wednesday already and thanks to the snow and to the memory of Martin Luther King Jr, I have worked only four hours so far this week.   But the hours I did work were spent on the roads driving a school bus and, for the first time in my life, they made me feel like a super hero. 

It’s funny how beautiful the snow looked as I watched it late yesterday afternoon through the big picture window in my daughter’s living room.  Not so lovely watching it from behind the windshield of a school bus.  By the time I picked up my students for their 11:00 a.m. early dismissal, there were several inches of snow on the ground - and several more fell during the two hours it took to get them to their homes in Cheltenham, a neighborhood just outside of Philadelphia, a drive that normally takes only twenty minutes.

But last night after dinner, I got into bed to watch a movie – Silver Linings Playbook – more scenes from Philadelphia's streets - Philly is the city I grew up in.   The movie was so light and sweet that by the time I fell asleep all the weight (not to mention the awesome responsibility) of driving children through snow,  lifted and I felt as free as a single snowflake drifting through the sky, and as graceful and relaxed as Bradley and Jennifer looked floating across the dance floor.  

But tomorrow is another day and tomorrow it's back to driving over icy roads and snow covered side streets.  But  then, maybe even nimbostratus have silver linings. I'll just have to wait and see.

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Stuff that Dreams are Made Of

Yesterday, when my alarm clock went off just before 5:00 a.m., I found myself wanting just a few more minutes of sleep before I got out of bed.  Okay, I said to myself, you can have two more minutes.  Any longer and I knew I’d fall back to sleep and wind up being late for work.  
In what seemed like just moments, I was at the bottom of the driveway that leads to the garage where I work.  For those of you who don’t already know, I drive a school bus and the driveway I’m talking about is so narrow that only one bus can enter or exit at a time.
When I started working there back in September, I was told the driveway was going to be widened, but not until next year.  So when I arrived yesterday, I was surprised to see that the driveway was blocked and that two crews were already removing the trees that lined it.

Surprised or not, I parked my car in the lot that had not been there before the holidays and started walking up the hill. I waved to the first crew, who waved back and kept walking. I waved to the second crew, but they didn't see me. I kept walking until I suddenly realized all of the dirt the second crew had removed from the earth was headed in my direction.  I screamed and tried to outrun it, but instead, I tripped and fell to my knees. The dirt continued to descend, coming over my head like a tidal wave. I knew I was about to be buried alive when I woke up.

Awake, I got out of bed, but I was shaking from head to toe. The dream had been so vivid, so real that I felt I was about to suffocate.  Out of bed now, I turned on the television to distract myself and started getting ready for work until I stopped suddenly in my tracks, realizing what the dream meant. I had not, as I thought, been falling under the dirt, but had been falling back to sleep. I had been so afraid of being late for work that my subconscious mind had concocted that entire dream sequence in order to frighten me into wakefulness.

Wow, I thought, what an amazing mechanism the mind is. And then my next though was: How come my mind is not that amazing and creative when I'm awake?  How come when I'm awake it just travels around in circles like a broken record, playing the same old thoughts again and again inside my head?

But wait.  Maybe knowing what the dream meant is, if not creative, at least insightful.  Except that right now I don’t know if knowing what the dream meant means anything at all.  Opps!  There goes that monkey mind of mine again going around in circles like a broken record, record, record.