Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Role Reversal

It was a Wednesday morning, and I was sitting with Dominic's middle school class, when, seven minutes into the presentation on watersheds, I was overcome with hunger. The clock on the wall showed three hours until lunch. How was I going to wait that long?

My mind began to wander. While the speaker power-pointed feeder streams, I studied everything on the walls: taxonomic charts, quotes by John Muir, lists of prepositions. And after it was all committed to memory, I crossed my feet under the table and tried to listen about groundwater absorption.

I wondered how much longer until we could go outside and actually do something with watersheds.

And when we finally did go out into the morning fog, my hands froze, and my ankles bled from slogging through blackberry bushes, and I wished we could go back inside.

The shovels were heavy. The dirt was dirty. And I thought how lucky the kids in Manhattan were to never have to think about watersheds.

Hungry and hurt, tired and cold, I swept up a pile of ivy leaves. Dominic and his friends yanked vines from the earth with gusto and cheer, as I slunk off toward The Beanery.


Sharon Mayhew said...

Lovely post! Did you ever get to eat?

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Sounds like an awful morning - cold, hunger, pain, hard work.... Ugh! I hope things got better from there! :)

Jennie Englund said...

You know, Sharon, I don't think I ever did eat...

But things are definitely looking up, Shannon. Definitely.