Vanatage point / by Christina Rosalie

It is raining softly, and the sky is the color of goose down. The fan oscillates back and forth, blowing paper ellipses across my studio floor. I’m starting to love this space. This place for leaving tracks across the page of my heart, for wandering and wondering, both.

Finches dart from twig to branch outside my window, calling each other and shaking raindrops from their wings. I’m grateful for the rain today after yesterday’s warmth. The past few nights we’ve had heat lighting, illuminating our bedroom with stark white light, and the days have been so hot and damp, clothes stick and sleeping seems impossible. Now the air is cool and gentle, and raindrops fleck the wooden windowsills.

I’m gearing up for a shift back to teaching, to being pulled in hundred different directions. I feel myself wanting this abundance. I love challenge. I thrive when I’m pushed, when an economy of action develops out of necessity, when my days are bursting

The past eighteen months away from work have been something I needed down to my very core. I needed this time to realign myself, to relocate my foundation and settle again into the house of my spirit. Like a bowl of water I gulped eagerly after a long hike, this time away from work with Bean ameliorated my fractured creative self, grown used to being pushed aside.

Now I have a studio instead of an office—I’ve given thought to where I put my paints and tools rather than storing them in boxes under the bed. I’ve adorned the walls and sills with artifacts I love: rocks from Long Island Sound; shells from Puerto Rico, prints I’ve made, photographs in faded black and white. This is why I feel ready to go back to fullness of my work as a teacher: because I have recharged and grown. I’m going back to something I’ve done before, but my vantage point has changed.

So I’m looking forward to returning to the daily activity of meeting small minds and giving them handfuls of ways to learn. I love the opportunity teaching provides me: to think ever flexibly, to see each child as an individual, and to discover how I can help them learn. I learn so much from this.

It’s such an interesting opportunity: to take time off, and to return to something that you love. A bit like time travel, I settle into the familiar setting of the classroom, with younger, less experienced versions of myself in attendance, as I gather papers and sort through books.

I’ve often wondered if other people have moments like this---where they encounter themselves and discover how abundantly they’ve grown. Because of the very nature of growing (organic and chaotic,) we hardly ever have the clarity and calm to glimpse beyond it while we’re in the process. We’re simply doing it. But then there are occasional moments like now, where I feel like I’ve landed on a smooth rock amidst the turbulence---and can see below me the vast topography of where I’ve been.

I’m always shocked at this. To see myself, different than I was. To catch glimpses of younger selves; to find their outlines smaller than the shape of now.