It is March 12th.
One year ago today I sent my 3rd graders home with things we normally kept at school: several books from our classroom library (usually they only took home one at a time) and their poetry notebooks, thinking to myself, “Tomorrow I’ll send them home with even more. We could be out of school for a few weeks.”
A few weeks.
That’s what I thought one year ago today. I have been teaching virtually since then. Today was my last school day (Mondays being asynchronous for us) of virtual school. Starting next week my 3rd graders (all except one) will be returning in person. I’ll teach in the classroom and virtually four days a week. The kids will come to the building two days a week and be virtual the other two days.
Tonight my family sat outside with our fire pit. Last spring, through the summer, and into the fall, the four of us spent a lot of time out there. Two hammocks, two camp chairs. Two parents and two kids (currently 12th and 8th graders). Tonight was the first time we’ve sat around our fire pit in several months.
By the end of the evening I was the only one still outside. I sat there, with my laptop and phone and glass of wine, working and breaking apart the fire to encourage it to die out. When it got to the point of embers with no more flames, I stared for a long time.
Those embers were burning while the flames were strong. They burned on when the flames died out. They continued burning when I covered the fire pit. Even when I couldn’t see them, I knew some embers were still alive in there.
I am one of those embers. So many of us are.
We were a part of something bright and flourishing a year ago. When it was gone, we continued on. Even in the darkest moments, even when our light couldn’t be seen and our heat couldn’t be felt, we kept on.
And now, now we relight, we reignite. We take that power within us and rebuild something bright and flourishing. It may take some time to truly catch and grow, but it will. We can make it happen. It may not be the bright and flourishing thing we were a part of a year ago. It can be something new. Something strong and good and worthy. Because that is how we will make it.