The night before last, I could not sleep. Nothing new with that. I gave up, got up, and decided to go to school early. Instead of going into my office, I walked in the front door, out the back, and across the yard to the place I call my spot.
I go to this place on the far side of my school’s playground to collect my thoughts and relocate the horizon on confusing days. This particular spot is a sweet one. It looks out over the Point, parts of the Hill, and then, onto the Bay itself. I can see the cranes in the old shipyard, bent like ancient guardians, waiting for ships that won’t come in.
From the hilltop today, I could see the earliest glow of an orange sunrise warm the sky, lighting up a few wispy clouds overhead. The geometry of the streets below remained hidden in darkness. I leaned against the damp chain link, completing the loops of thought that kept me awake.
However, I got a small surprise on this day. It began with warmth that found a way into my bones. Then it warmed further until I wondered whether I might glowing from the top of my head. Well, this is different, I thought.
Then the worry left my body. The reaching left my arms. I had a moment where I lacked for nothing. Right here is enough! I said out loud.
How different from other times where I drove myself to tears by asking, hoping, wishing for some kind of rescue for myself and for these kids. In the glow of the sunrise, I saw myself as a small spark of consciousness. Though smaller than small, I am still part of everything. I am and I belong.
All of this came through before 6:15AM!
A parent had written me the day before, telling me that the school needed to decide who it served. He had said that the kids on the hill were holding us back. Let them go to school in a place that’s right for them, he had written. He asked for his child to be parted from the common herd. Divide this gifted child, from the slow ones. I could not imagine the kind of world that he asked for.
Sunrise allowed the toxin of those words to leave me. One tribe. All in. No escape. Just so. As the sky brightened, I felt room in me for appreciation. What I achieved arose through the way I was connected. I didn’t need to cling to any of it.
Then, I lifted my head and got a second surprise. It was bright enough now that I could see the hillside below. I could make out a woman looking toward the sunrise from her back porch. I saw another man, standing on his roof, looking skyward. And, I noticed a boy standing no more that twenty feet from me next to the bent tetherball pole- one of our fifth graders, Kamani, warming to the sunrise just as I was. The sun lifted off the horizon and the day was on.
I slipped back into the building, dashed up the stairs, turned on the lights in the office and opened the window. No matter what I hoped for, the coming sequence would be whatever it wanted to be – an experience that the many of us would make together. But in that moment, I knew that I had enough light to carry on.