Thursday, April 14, 2016

Inch One Hundred Thirteen: Spring Walk

I walked to work today, a feat worth mentioning because I have been buried deep in Truancy Season, that time of year when some of my colleagues and I are in the schools for days on end, holding attendance mediations. Given that we cover all four districts in our county, Truancy Season requires having a car and the means to get to schools. Chemo two days a week and three weeks in a row also requires me to drive to work more than I want, so I can get to my treatment.

There's a lot of car time, and I am not a car person.

We are not yet out of Truancy Season, but Ohio forces school districts to administer standardized tests in April. We cannot pull staff or students for mediations during the testing weeks. As a result, there has been a brief respite, and after finishing chemo earlier this week, I was able to walk today.

The morning walk to the office was cold; despite warmer weather earlier in March, much of April has been chill. Warren and I each scraped windshields more than once this week to be able to drive to our respective offices. I noticed as I walked along today that violets were crumpled up in protective positions against the cold and that tulips refused to lift their heads.

Turning onto Lincoln Avenue, I heard a woodpecker high above me. Where is the woodpecker?Whose woodpecker is it? It took me a few minutes to locate it high in a leafless tree, silhouetted against the morning sun. I stood and listened before walking on.

Those sound like odd questions and perhaps they are, out of context. But what flashed through my mind when I heard the distinctive tap was the final chess match scene from the 1993 movie Searching For Bobby Fischer, which is not about Bobby Fischer so much as it about a young chess prodigy, Josh Waitzkin. At a crucial point in the championship match, Josh's opponent misplays his pieces. Josh's coach, watching on closed-circuit television, says out loud "that was a mistake." Josh's father asks "What was a mistake? Who made the mistake?" (The comment comes around 4:36 in the clip below.)

Whatever geeky thread connected that scene to the woodpecker in my mind, I do not know. But once made, the connection stayed. Where is the woodpecker?Whose woodpecker is it? 

Today was a long day; the Thursday after chemo always is, due not only to the chemo but also to the fact that Thursday afternoon is when I co-facilitate a juvenile class that runs until 5:30. The class was long but good. When I finally exited the courthouse, I was exhausted but not so much that I couldn't appreciate the warm temperature and the bright sun of late afternoon.

There were no woodpeckers out when I walked back home, but the violets had opened up. There were tulips at the house just before Fountain Street, yellow ones streaked with red, all standing straight and true in the warmth. The day had done a 180 on me.

I will be back in my car tomorrow, not because Truancy Season is kicking back in (that will be at the end of next week), but because I have more errands to run tomorrow than I wish to contemplate. More and more, I feel like Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings, scraped thin.

With the change in weather and the upcoming conclusion of the 2015-2016 Truancy Season, I am hoping for a little more energy, a little less scraped feeling. I am probably dreaming. I know it is unlikely that I will ever regain lost ground. So I may as well make the best of it, savor the spring violets defying the cold, listen for the woodpecker high in the tree.

Where is the woodpecker?Whose woodpecker is it? 


christina neumann said...

I often feel like Bilbo too. Too little butter scraped over bread..
I live on Woodpecker lane... and we have many woodpeckers here in Northern California..
Hope you don't work too hard and enjoy the weather.

Laurie said...

I do hope you regain some lost ground, or in any case, find many things to enjoy. We enjoy the woodpeckers here too. Glad you have a bit of a respite between busy times.

Anne said...

I love love love that movie.