I live across the street from an elementary school.
My living clock is the sound of the youngsters...the sounds which tell me the time, five days a week. Here they are filling the street, the schoolyard, it must be just before nine o'clock; is it really just past 10:30? It must be, there's that unmistakable recess release sound surging through our brick walls, and down our narrow between-the-houses spaces.
The short small high loud sounds of the beginning of things, of secrets told on the baseball diamond, or by the fence, or how the sound carries in the snow and they toddle and fall and yell and love it. The snow angelic risings and fallings. Is it noon, already? Our streetscape is a childscape, for true.
The schoolyard template, oh those little girls in two's and three's, in their wild shared whispers; the boys, energetic beyond their coordination, hooting, the guffaws; the giggles. Is it really twenty-to-four? The parents arrive, the sound of cars, footsteps, awaiting gatherings, bicycles.
Homeward bound. The relating of the day from the short bundles speaking to the taller bundles, carrying their heavy packs for them. The dogs which come along, for the school pick-up. The constant sound parade in our neighbourhood to and from the elementary school.
The dogs yip, the children rush, the next clock begins, the next day.
To imagine these sounds stopping is to imagine the seasons reversing.
And the shepherds of the living....the teachers, (the librarians, custodians...)...who move parent and child through time in that contract of safekeeping...during a massacre, they were stalwart, they were calm.
So: Let us raise a glass, a mug, a cup, to the educators of Sandy Hook Elementary. When the time came, the time we dread yet prepare for, they were leaders. So many gone; so many saved.
To the teachers.
The heroic companions of calm.
(Photo of Cyclamen, by Susan, December 2012)