A most unusual Ash Wednesday

Well, that was an unusual day.

Three minutes after school started yesterday morning, the power went off.  It stayed off … all day.  Turns out it was a citywide outage due to a small plane crashing into some powerlines (three people died, tragically, in the crash).

We couldn’t send the kids home without first notifying the parents, and we couldn’t notify the parents without power.  So what did we do?  We all taught in the dark.  Blinds were pulled all the way up, doors were propped open, and I wrote in foot-high letters on the whiteboard.  It was like being a Londoner during the Blitz (except for, you know, the Luftwaffe).  I just kept calm and carried on.  Miraculously, I got through about 75% of  my lesson plans.  It is amazing what you can adapt on the fly.  It’s all the more amazing considering  that I was doing it on an almost- empty tank: you know, that Ash Wednesday fast thing.

After school, I had a chunk of time before picking the boys up from my folks, so I took advantage of the unseasonably warm day and went for a jog/hike in the foothills.  It was a glorious afternoon.  The sky was blue and the hills were green, with that bright spring green of new grass.   Where the trail was in sun, it was perfectly dry;  further along the path, under the oaks, the ground was tacky with old mud, but smelled fresh and deliciously earthy.  I paused at the top of a hill and watched the gentle almost-spring sun slide along the slopes, and it was quiet enough to hear the breeze in my ear:  a beautiful, soft, intimate sound.

And I thought about the day: a day of darkness and light,  of fasting and celebration.   It was neither one thing nor the other.  Everything was mixed, ashes and sunshine together.   And I thought about how life is like that sometimes: everything all at once, a dizzying mix, a wild ride — and a memorable one.

2 responses to “A most unusual Ash Wednesday