A single leaf flutters across the neighbor’s yard. I see it through the reflection in the mirror facing me–the one that reveals the view through the bay window of my office. The breeze that set that leaf fluttering ceases. All is calm, but not bright as the dimming light yields to the growing afternoon shadows that stretch out across the neighborhood.
They are not so unlike the shadows of the past. And like two-headed Janus, the Roman God guarding the portal of time and space, I can gaze back at those shadows and catch the contours of what might-have-been.
In one other life, I trusted my distrust of the suburban administrator that betrayed me. I stayed at Kennedy, instead of leaving NYC schools for the enticing lure of a suburban, Rockland County school district. But what then? Did I learn the humility so necessary to stay effective in education? What of Kennedy’s inevitable closing?
In another life, I chose not to attend the centering prayer workshop that I made the Saturday after September 11, 2001. I never learned how to sit still and know that God is God by consenting to his presence and action. But what then? How did I sustain myself through the trials and tribulations of unemployment, a return to NYC teaching, the vicissitudes of raising a family under those circumstances?
I could ask Janus to show me the rest. But the deity remains stubbornly silent. There is no knowing with certainty what lies behind the door left unopened. All I can know for sure is that every decision that I made has brought me to the moment in which I stand. The next decision will bear me to the next one.
That is enough. It has to be.
the lesson of kenosis
in the brook’s roar
a glimpse of a smile unseen
as I let myself go
for dVerse Poets Pub’s Poetics: Time and What If? (pubtended by Merril Smith)
with Real Toads’ the Tuesday Platform (imagined by Sanaa Rizvi)