It seems strange to be writing of snowglobes in the springtime. I took a walk around Prague, this afternoon, with no jacket on for the first time in seven months and felt my shoulders loosen, my solar plexus melt warmly into my slowly rising and falling chest.
That morning, without prior warning, I took part in a Japanese tea ceremony.
Mark, a friend, placed two muslin teabags into a teapot. Over them he poured freshly boiled tapwater. He then carefully, sequentially squeezed the juice of four quarters of lemon into the pot. He replaced the lid of the teapot. Then he waited. We waited.
We chose our cups: Kadri’s was made in Czechoslovakia (a country that no longer exists); Nadine’s made in China (an omen for us now); upon the base of mine was written ‘Grand Siecle’ – no country (this too holds meaning for me).
As I drank the tea, its warmth reminded me of myself; its flavour reminded me of the Earth. It tasted better for having been made in ritual. It meant more to me than the tea I make, on autopilot, at home.
I love my life and am greedy for every last drop of it. I cannot believe what I have become. I marvel at the shape my mind has taken in its ripening. I look into the mirror and I see lines deepening, hairline receding, a chin determined to multiply itself in folds over and over: and I have never been more in love with my life.
I attribute much of my affection for life to being a father, a husband, a son, a friend. But what connects me to a world beyond the immediate confines of family and acquaintance is what has become one of the great loves of my life. I am a teacher.
I fucking love being a teacher. Yes, it is hard. Yes, there are moments of pain, doubt and, sometimes, fear. Yes.
But even in the depths of winter, even through the cruellest months and the grinding tread of term and toil and test: even through the tattering of your constantly sewn, torn and resewn ethos… Each day you stand, wizard in a blizzard, surrounded by and drawn more deeply into the world. You are reminded of yourself and you are reminded of the world.
I think about the what and the how of teaching, and how sometimes (in this blizzard) we can’t see the difference. I think about our good, good intentions (we are not warlocks after all). In the midst of our silly seasons of toing and froing between polarities; in the mess of our unresolved differences, I see our silhouettes against the Brownian flurry. We happen to be holding hands.
Drink your tea: there are sweets at the end.
In spring, it seemed strange to be writing of snowglobes. So I didn’t.