I’m in that busy season called life. My hands are filled with multi-coloured ribbons that are connected to a bouquet of helium balloons that bob along above my head wherever I go.
One balloon says ‘kids’ and has pictures of swimming lessons, trumpet lessons, school assemblies, play-dates, homework, cub scouts, legos, school dinners, and scooters swirling around the outside.
One balloon says ‘body’ and stretches like a yoga salute, capers along in the front like a morning run, then nods in the back of the bunch to rest and sleep.
One says ‘work.’ Across it roam ideas for animations to teach physics, scripts to edit, scripts to critique, colleagues in India and Ireland to connect with, animations to improve, words to polish.
One says ‘music’ and it sways to the lop-sided waltz of the 2nd movement of Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony. That’s how my stride feels with all these balloons: graceful and uneven, revealing a beauty in the unexpected.
One says ‘teaching’ and it is lifted by the bright excitement of my new students for the year. There are nine – six first years and three second years. I’m finding wonderful subtleties to appreciate and understand in the physics we’re learning that escaped me the first few times around. Even though the problems are the same from year to year, the students aren’t. Neither am I.
One says ‘love’ and it’s a balloon I’ve had dancing above my head for more than 15 years now. We (my love and I), had a special trip to Paris last weekend to celebrate my birthday, our 10th wedding anniversary (about 15 months late), and each other. The kids had a great time staying with friends and we had a long lazy weekend of food, walks, art, and jazz. We felt like we were getting away with something! I’m sure we were.
One says ‘writing.’ It is a transparent balloon, easy to miss in the riot of colour bouncing above my head. It floats above them all. I couldn’t say what swirls on the outside, or how it dances, or what noble gas races wildly inside, keeping it afloat. But I know it’s there, and there is a grounding comfort in that thought.
All these balloons lighten my step, they really do. Each provides an extra bit of buoyancy to carry me along. To let one go or pop another would be a sad subtraction – I would have one less balloon in the bunch. It’s tricky to see them all in the crowd, but I know they are up there, each doing its job, keeping me on my toes.