Here in the zone of totality eclipse mania is reaching epic proportions. Locals have been warned to fill up the gas tank and stock the groceries as if a hurricane was approaching. Traffic is going to be a nightmare and I have planned to stay close to home. In the first two days of the school year, I was mandated to teach a lesson on the eclipse to prepare students midst all the back to school lessons that are so important for establishing routines for the classroom. I am excited, it is cool to be in a place with the optimum effects from this space phenomenon.
It is ironic to me that it is occurring in August because as an educator starting my 25th year of teaching every August has an eclipse in the zone of totality. It lasts way more than two minutes, more like four weeks.
Even when I can set up my classroom in July and get some planning done ahead of time, I still find that a new school year eclipses my life to the point of total darkness. I sometimes forget to pay bills, although one year I accidentally paid bills twice. House work and yard work is put on hold until I can’t ignore it any longer and then what gets done is the minimum. I realized last night I was out of hair towels, so a towel wash will happen today amid my lesson planning and sorting my kids into spelling groups (Yes it is a Saturday and I’m going to put in at least 6 hours of school work).My writing life, well, maintaining my weekly blog post commitment becomes a Herculean task and my novel work is on ice. I miss my characters, I miss escaping to their world, I know they will start waking me up out of the few hours I manage to sleep if I don’t carve out some time for them soon. Personal relationships also are eclipsed by the school year, I barely manage to connect with my parents and friends. My parent’s anniversary is every August and the flowers I ordered will be late because I didn’t remember to order them until last night and their anniversary falls on a Sunday. I even do crazy things like stick my keys in the fridge, leave all my toiletries at school on Meet the Teacher day or leave my lunch on the kitchen floor the first day of school.
By Labor day the sun will shine back into my life and I will find balance again. I will be in the rhythm of the school routine and carve out the writing time and the social time without the fog of heavy exhaustion. So this thing happening up in the sky, no big deal, I’m a veteran of an August eclipse.