It takes awhile for labels to fall away. Some never do. Even though it has been quite some time since I was introduced as “the teacher” – I am recently retired – I suspect my teaching roots are deeply planted. The instinct to learn, to read, to explain – at times, for lack of an audience, to myself!
It is not easy to adjust to the stillness that kicks in once the hectic pace of teaching comes to an end. Don’t get me wrong, I grew into to the calmer rhythm of less demanding days with relative ease. Travel, visiting friends, social events, reading good books – all those things one has to pack into an otherwise hectic schedule – fell into place quite nicely.
And then Covid hit. Like the rest of the world, I sat mostly at home, at a loss on so many levels. As I wrestled with the proverbial “now what?” question, I found myself craving to express the many competing feelings that quickly became part of an unfamiliar lifestyle.
I love to write. I especially love to write poetry. My earliest memory as a kid was sitting in my room, the door closed, a pad of paper on my lap, writing a poem. Often crying while I was at it. Fast forward so many years later, I no longer sit in my room alone with the door closed. My laptop is conveniently open on my dining room table next to the window and a perfect view of my garden. If it is early in the day, a cup of coffee sits within reach. If it is early evening, a glass of wine seems to find its way to the table – also, readily within reach.
In the last few months, I have been writing steadily. Every day, I write something. Some days more, some days less. Some days the writing is easy. Other days it is a struggle. For better or worse, something is saved in a document labelled POEMS, 2021.
Recently, I have decided to step it up. Why not publish? Instinctively, when a folder of work emerges, there is an urge to share. Not a Facebook type of sharing. Something more substantial. Is it the latent voice of “the teacher” that has been tucked away somewhere? Maybe. The teacher who is now at liberty to exercise her voice in a very different way. Now, a learner – forever discovering the infinite reach of words.
I am an older woman of a certain vintage. Like the rest of the world, I have struggled for the last couple of years with the limiting life that came with Covid. Somehow, I have learned to find the words to make sense of the madness. By writing poetry.