A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Saturday, November 25, 2006

In art as in life: with a vanishing point comes a sense of perspective

There are some of my colleagues who are contemplating retirement this year. They have been teachers for over thirty years.

It is amazing to watch the change in my friends when they finally decide to release this part of their lives. One of them, whom I will call Del Pierro, is mellowing like a fine wine. Things that used to drive him nuts he merely bats aside with a bear-like paw. He laughs more this year. He tells funny stories. Where once he was a bit curmudgeonly, he now expresses concern over colleagues of ours who seem to be struggling. You can see him thinking, "THIS is my last September. THIS is my last fall Open House. THIS is my last Thanksgiving. This time next year I will be able to take that trip."

I have seen so many colleagues retire and immediately have health crises, or not know what to do with themselves. Teaching is so hard on people mentally and physically. Del Pierro has always had other interests, and he is ready to indulge them.

His life is spread before him like an unfinished canvas -- there's an entire side left to be painted, and he knows it must have some depth and richness. He sees the vanishing point in front of him, but over that horizon he sees a whole other vista. I sometimes envy him that as I slog my way through the doldrums of fall, as much as I love what I do. This year has been hard for me.

But my friend Del Pierro sees only possibilities. With a vanishing point comes a sense of perspective.


Post a Comment

<< Home

free statistics