With the relentless rain, encroaching cold and darkening days, sleep is a robust tea bag and dreams are steeped under warm blankets, rich, colorful, varied and endlessly interesting. But not to anyone else. No one wants to hear of me trudging last night in the snow at 15,000 feet, trying to steal some phrasing from a jazz pianist who used to be my student and now is in the midst of changing genders. But when the light dawned enough for me to open my eyes, I would have preferred to throw the covers over my head and keep watching the unfolding story on the mind’s screen.
But here I am, 68 years old and still beholden to the morning schedule of morning oatmeal and off in the car for the daily commute playing my little game with traffic lights. The children are awaiting, 6thgraders reviewing Holiday Songs, 8thgraders eager to practice their St. George and the Dragon play, 5-year-olds wondering what new rock-paper-scissors game the Intern will teach to them today. The TGIF lunch awaits, but no time to relax yet, with 22 4thgraders needing to get through their whole Phantom Tollbooth play without dropping a line. Then off to the Jewish Home for some piano playing to take us out of time, that ticking clock ticking yet louder—like Captain Hook’s crocodile—singing its song of mortality until overpowered by Bach or Gershwin.
Then would be the moment to feel the pleasure of work well done. But not today. Back to school to help set up the stage. This the life I signed up for, the life that continues with its “whatever it takes” demands, the life that will shift next June, not wholly with an exhale of relief, but some questioning and mild regret while looking forward to the possibility of staying curled up in bed this time next year, steeped in winter dreams.