On Onondaga Parkway this morning I came to a complete stop. The car beside me stopped, as did the cars in the oncoming lanes. 6:40 in the morning, all of us on our ways to work, we waited as three Canada geese crossed the parkway. Here we were, brutes of humanity, taking time to let birds cross the road. I imagined the birds raising their wings in thanks. Instead, the third goose took a dump and kept going. Nature isn't polite and kindnesses is its own reward regardless of how it is received.
At the door to the school, spread on the ground lay the remains of a bird that mistook A windows for sky. It looked like a brown angel with its head removed. "Well, that can't be a good omen," I said, stepping through the door, my fingers crossed, hoping for the best.
The workday was alright. I'm learning to float there though my heart is heavy enough to drag me down deep. The students are mostly kind. I don't dump on their kindness and they don't have me believing in omens. At noon, I walked out past the remains of the bird, drove up the parkway to the second school at which I teach. I closed the classroom door behind me. I was kind to the students there and in return they were gracious. At the end of the day, as I held the door, three kids thanked me on their way out. Not a one dumped on me.
From there I met a friend I see too seldom. She's a model of the escape I'm trying to make into a better life. We hugged and I couldn't stop smiling at how wonderful it is to have such a friend. We walked, had coffee, and talked for hours. She bucked me up. There's nothing wrong with wanting more and going for it. That's what she let me know. We share similar fears. She helped me believe that I'm on the right path. She made me feel worthy of the kindness she gave so freely.
I'm sitting outside in the grey dusk. Yesterday, I stood here with another friend who has found a new way of living. We talked school, learning, teaching, all the good and bad that there is in all of that. She too let me know that it's okay to want a better job, a better life.
There are those who wonder what I'm doing. I'm not supposed to talk about reinventing my life. I'm certainly not supposed to write that I'm unhappy in my job. Some people wonder why I even consider leaving a job that supports my family. I understand that. I really do. But like the geese, I have to get across the road. I don't need a dead bird to tell me I'm in the wrong place and need to move on.
I gave those a geese a break. I shook off the omen of the dead bird. I had a good day teaching and have shared time with friends who inspire me. Whether this is the right or wrong way, the only way I know to do things is one day after another, one word at a time, as I write on.