16 March 2011

Jumping the Fire

It's a new day. 

I do some of my best thinking during my commutes to and from work.  Thirty-five minutes (on a good day) of just me and the corolla, navigating the beautiful curves and crests of the Santa Cruz mountains. 

I have my rituals.  Trusty travel-mug of coffee at my side and lunch bag occupying the passenger seat, I check my make-up in the rear view mirror.  I scrunch my still-wet hair a few times before tuning in to hear the traffic report and celebrity gossip from my local radio station. In a few minutes my mind wanders... I am on auto pilot.  I've driven this road so many times, she feels like an old friend.  I start ticking off my agenda for the day, visualizing my carefully planned lessons and anticipating potential problems or things I may have forgotten. 

Somewhere near the summit, my mind returns to its task.  I lose my radio station to static and slow down for the descent toward Los Gatos.  I switch over to ALICE 97.3, a popular bay area station, to hear if Sarah and Vinnie have anything raunchy to say.  I'm starting to wake up now, the commute half over. 

Today the DJs announce that it is the start of the Persian New Year, called NoRuz, which means "New Day."  Residents of Berkeley were out in full force last night to kick off the celebration.  I listen as they describe the events.  Apparently, it is a long standing tradition, for young and old alike, to "jump the fire" at the beginning of the New Year festivities.  When a person jumps the fire, they let go of last year's woes.  They "burn" the past and leave it behind them.  The fire takes it all away and they are able to begin anew. 

I am fascinated and inspired. I start to think of woes I could give to the fire. One by one, I imagine letting them go as I leap above the flames. Heated amber tongues consume my worries.  It is so simple, so symbolic, and so very cathartic. The year begins with Spring--when the world is blooming and winter cares are shed. I find myself envious of the Persians and their beautiful tradition. I contemplate changing my calendar.

As I exit onto the side-streets near the school,  I am somehow lighter than when I left the house.  The thirty-five minutes have gone by in a blur and I am ready.  Ready for Wednesday.  Ready for Spring.  Ready for the new year.

Ready to jump the fire.

Today's Gratitude List:
  • cupcakes from a sweet student
  • yoga pants (especially after eating above cupcakes)
  • my diverse and beautiful community

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