In fourteen hundred and ninety-two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue…
In honor of the intrepid explorer I’ve gone to…no, not Columbus, Ohio. I’m checking out the ocean blue in south facing Cape May where last night at sunset we watched the sun slip into the ocean to the west and then saw the moon rise over the ocean in the east. It was so nice of Columbus to arrange this for October. Oh wait, I guess I have to credit an act of Congress for this holiday. Well, there’s at least one thing I can thank Congress for!
Columbus Day used to be a bigger deal. I have off from school only because I teach in a private school. Public schools around here lost Columbus Day when they gained the Jewish holidays. That’s ok. Some years back I taught at a Jewish school and thoroughly enjoyed the Jewish holidays. (I didn’t enjoy taking personal days at Christmas time, though.) At any rate, we need the break that holidays bring. And by break I don’t mean a day off to hit the Columbus Day sales.
A few years ago the headmaster of our school removed Columbus Day from the calendar. Nothing against Columbus, he was just trying to do a schedule. No one noticed the deletion early enough to prevent it, but the teachers went berserk. By Thanksgiving our nerves were shot and misbehaving students took their lives in their hands.
We all–and not just teachers–need these little breaks that don’t involve the stress of gift-buying, meals for crowds, and family drama. Columbus Day is a pause in the busy routine at a beautiful time of year. It provides a chance to press the reset button on one’s inner calm. Usually, I can press my reset button drinking my morning coffee on the porch, but there’s something to be said for leaving town.
Packing for this little get-away at the end of the work week nearly put me right over the edge. We brought eight gazillion power cords to charge all our electronics, but I forgot basics like the hair dryer and toothpaste. Yet now I listen to the nasal quack of a gull and think Stress? What stress? Granted, there’s probably an element of forgetfulness going on here, and the gull is starting to bore into my brain so that I can’t think of anything at all, and I’ll get back to school on Tuesday and be hit with the avalanche of things I’m not thinking about right now, but it’s so good not to be thinking about them right now!
It’s undoubtedly a stunning day at Maywood with the leaves beginning to turn. Instead, I look out over the ocean blue thinking fond thoughts of Chris Columbus, Leif Erikson, Amerigo Vespucci and my various ancestors whose courage and wanderlust resulted in my sitting on this side of The Pond.