Recess duty looks pretty different this year. Nobody's running and playing on the field; instead, they are all sitting at our outdoor cafeteria, distanced from each other, decorously eating their snacks. There are only a few of them, anyway, since half of the class is here at a time.
But some things are the same. I still squint up at the birds on the wire and resolve to bring my binoculars tomorrow. I still talk and listen. I still soak in the Vitamin D from the sun.
And today, as I walked back to my classroom with the sixth graders, a familiar smell hit my nose even through my mask: newly cut grass. When I was a child, that was the smell of Saturday mornings, and even though this is no Saturday morning, but a challenging school day with responsibilities both online and in person, a hybrid school day in this strange 2020 world, I had a rush of those feelings that the smell of cut grass and the sound of the lawnmower used to fill me with all those years ago. Those feelings that life was good, that I was safe and cared for, that the world was as it should be.
Back at my desk, checking my to-do list for my free period (Do I have a Zoom conference? Did some work come in to grade? I need to work on next week's online lessons.), I am trying to hold on to the smell of cut grass.