I am finally starting to get over my jetlag (which gets harder as I get older) and my post-Covid symptoms are subsiding. I am feeling more grounded and stronger day by day.
Less than an hour from now, I will be welcoming new students to my Wednesday morning writing practice class for an orientation. And a half hour after that, my returning students will rejoin us.
I’ve been teaching this class for maybe 25 years? It’s hard to keep track. This Wednesday morning class was the very first writing class I taught. I’ve I kept this same writing practice class going all these years, even through my year of very intensive cancer treatment, when I would arrive at the Garden, where I taught the class for its first fifteen years, bald and hardly able to stand up. During that year, one of my students picked me up and brought me to class every week and then set up the room for me, arranging a circle of chairs and setting out the teas and name tags because I was too weak to do it. My classes were small that year, but I will never forget the loyal students who stuck with me. I believe my teaching that year was incandescent because I was living so close to the bone.
That was 17 years ago, and since the start of the pandemic, my weekly classes have all been on zoom. I did it out of necessity, but I have grown to love online teaching.
Today, I am returning to teach after a six month hiatus from my weekly classes. I’ve spent those months in Tuscany teaching a retreat, camping in the Pacific Northwest, visiting with all three of our children (and grandchildren), leading a grief retreat, and most recently hiking the Camino de Santiago.
Now, settled back at home, I’ve been preparing for my three online classes, one today and two tomorrow. This morning is the day I begin. Or should I say WE begin.
There’s something about starting classes in the fall that brings up so many memories and feelings for me. And I find myself nervous with anticipation. It always surprises me when I feel nervous before I teach, but since I feel this way every time, I don’t know why it surprises me. I guess because I’m a seasoned teacher who has been teaching for over 25 years. Still, I think my heightened awareness and mild anxiety/ant￼icipation is a necessary ingredient to greeting my students, new and old, reforging our community.
It’s almost time. Wish me well…
Oh, the stories we will tell. The stories we will hear. In times of crisis and heartache, writing is one of the best forms of medicine I know.
PS: It was a terrific class. It reinforced for me the power of writing in times of stress, grief, and uncertainty.