The sun starts to rise, a fiery marmalade pink just perceivable behind a cracked cloud curtain in the eastern sky. I talk myself through what I need to accomplish for the day as my brain fights to slip back to a numb bouncing board of unfiltered thought. My drive to work is twenty-five miles one way. My fourteen-year-old son and I traverse much of the distance in silence, he contending with his thoughts and me with mine. The thick coastal fog envelopes the dense forest of trees on either side of the highway, and a sheet of moisture gathers on my windshield, creating an otherworldly feel. It’s during these early morning drives when my mind wanders at will between thoughts of teaching, parenting, and writing. All of my options are spread out before me, and anything seems possible. It’s the moment before I enter the chaos and uncertainty of the day when my vision is the clearest.
I have moments of certainty as to how I will inspire my students to become lifelong readers and writers. I set lofty personal writing goals to accomplish as inspiration flows freely, and the resonating themes of pieces I’ve been working on connect with such clarity. I think about the uninterrupted quality moments that I will spend with my husband and children when we all get home for the evening, and everything seems possible in that single moment.
By the time my little Honda pulls into the parking lot of the middle school where I teach, the daylight has taken on a dull grayish hue, and the magic spell of the in-between hours wanes. I am left with a dizzy, overwhelmed feeling as to the scope and magnitude of what I must accomplish, and fuzziness clouds my head. The rest of the day is a mad dash to the finish line, a million goals, obligations, meetings, and duties to follow through with. But still, I hold on to those initial moments of clarity (even when I can’t quite recall what they were) with ferocity because I know that everything in life is a process, and my morning moments of clarity are seeds of future aspiration germinating in my mind.