It is the little things, the sunrises, the sunsets, the gasp of cool air, the unexpected summer shower, the splash of colour in an otherwise dark day, the clouds that appear to dance.
The first time I really noticed the sunrise I gasped. “Look at that sky girls!” I said as I was driving. The sky was tumbled rose, the sun was rising slowly above a mist, hardly touching the palm trees but casting a shy pink glance over the desert. I came to school and told some of my students about it. Most of them had never noticed the sunrise, driving to school with eyes closed and ears locked into their private music. One asked me why I hadn’t stopped and taken a photo. I explained I didn’t want to be late.
And I heard myself and promised that the next day I would stop the car for a moment. Breathe, grab the sunrise by its shoulders and say hello.
And I did.
Four times so far. Four sunrises. My prize for getting up that early. And I have learnt to be thankful for my drive to school. I have no traffic, living at the nether end of the Sandy Desert Isle. And we have no ugliness, which is why I chose a house where I did. Because you have to find the pretty where you can.
And I started thinking about all the morning drives I have done. How different they are, my ‘school runs”
When they were tiny, we walked to pre-school, and in the winter I pulled a sled. Then a change of school and a typical Montreal drive that started out with the striking beauty as I crossed the mountain and ended with a nonsensical and mental breakdown inducing red traffic light.
And another change of school and this time a short drive through slush and slippery roads, grey and heavy with winter in the cold, and a sunny, happy walk in the summer, past a park and trees laden with green.
And did we really change schools again? This time a longer drive, to three schools, one for each of us.No sunrise between the tall buildings, traffic lights, crowded roads with lines upon lines of cars waiting to arrive.
In Trinidad we lived on the same street as our school and won the shortest commute in history prize. We walked swiftly past the cars waiting to turn into school, waving at classmates and bouncing our backpacks on our backs.
In Uganda it was a winding drive, over potholes or past goats and chickens and for a time we walked.
And now it is the sunrise and the desert; the open spaces where our eyes can see as far as they wish.