****This space is also used as a gymnasium, and there are chairs in rows, but both the the audience and the tableful of trophies are smaller. Again, there are speeches by a number of people including Clemency, and I learn something new about the person I have lived with for over 40 years. There is a photo of us on our wedding day: we are standing under the huge old walnut tree in my new in-laws' garden and I am making my groom's speech. Clemency is looking on in startled, happy astonishment because she did not know, until that moment, that I had any ability at public speaking. And tonight, all these years later, she returns the compliment. She speaks twice: once to farewell her friend Erika, also leaving the school, and once to acknowledge the things said about herself. Brilliant. Simply brilliant. I'm the one who does the public speaking. How had I not known that she does it just as well, if not better?
We are making lots of trips to the dump lately. We haul plastic sacks filled with 20 years of classroom projects and planning sheets and wall charts and handbooks of pedagogical guidelines.
I am spending more time in the garden than I have for a long long time. There is so much to be cut back, so many things to be removed or trimmed or shifted.
This is a time of letting go. And every one of these relinquishments makes us lighter and freer. Each one brings with it a gift of lightness and clarity and freedom. Each one seems to reveal a long hidden treasure.