This is the first year in 17 years of teaching that my school district has changed the start time for school. Middle schools now begin at 9:20 AM and go till 4:45 PM. A lot of people have been complaining about it. I decided to take a different approach. I got up this morning at 5:30. I made breakfast and a pot of coffee and I took it with my sketchbook to my front patio. I plugged in the café lights above the brick patio sent down the iron furniture and listened to the sounds of crickets, tree frogs, and the awakening of birds.
This convergence of night and morning sounds was remarkable. I took another sip of coffee. I often listen to the Bible in the morning to help me get my mind focused on things that are bigger than me, things that are pure and Noble. This morning I listen to the psalms. I opened my sketchbook and began to write and draw.
After a while my wife joined me and we talked about the new year. She still in quarantine because of a coworker who got Covid. She herself tested negative for the virus but we sat with our coffee listening to the birds watching the neighborhood cats and talking about our students and the things we hoped for with the new school year. After a while I got up to take a shower and went to work two hours before my start time. It is the first time in memory that I went to school without feeling rushed. It was amazing. Not only did I create art, feed my soul, enjoy my family, but I showed up to work more centered person, a better version of myself. I no longer have to endure my class or my time spent teaching. It has become a blessing and the thing that gives me purpose. I’m grateful for that. As I am for morning times with coffee and a pen on paper.