Friday, December 12, 2008

Juggling -- literally and figuratively

In the final graduate class toward my Masters Degree, all of the class members were describing their personal growth and professional progress as they had passed through the program cycle. We were seated in a circle, my friend Sara next to me, and Deb was showing us a collection of photos that represented critical points in her educational journey. The classroom windows were tall and narrow and far apart, so only those of us sitting exactly in the right place could see outside. Beyond the window behind Deb, on an entrance road that passed rather close to the building, a juggler appeared.
Yes, a juggler. Big yellow shoes, baggy black clown pants, bowling-pin style clubs spiraling through the air. Sara and I exchanged glances, then looked back at Deb and tried to concentrate. The juggler walked on, and a parade of dog-walkers following him. This group of people -- it had to be at least 75 to 100, just counting the two-legged folk -- strode along as though they were marching for a cause (which was probably the case!). By this time, Sara and I could no longer look at each other. The longer the line went on, the closer we came to laughing. As the dogs and their humans paraded down the road out of sight, a helicopter landed on the campus lawn. Yes, a helicopter.
Deb had no idea.
Sara and I held onto our composure and used our best drama skills to at least feign focus until Deb was done. During our next break, we told her the whole story. Truth is stranger than fiction, and this was one of the strangest things to happen to us during grad school.
Five years later, we are still friends. Deb's a fabulous teacher and a great juggler herself, a mother of three and teacher in a low-income school in our fair district. Her sense of humor took her through the cycle of graduate classes and served her yet again when we informed her of the sights she hadn't even known were competing for our attention.
As the new year looms closer and my personal juggling act gathers momentum, I can't help but think of the juggler who started the whole crazy parade outside the graduate school window. The symbolism remains strong; we might never know how many people around us are juggling. I won't even try to address potential symbolism in the helicopter landing.

Parent Bloggers Network and BigTent asked bloggers to chronicle their goals and changes for 2009. For me, life always come down to the juggling act. This is a true story, a post renewed and revised one more time.
I'd love to get my act together and maybe even take it on the road for a while. But for now, I'd be satisfied to successfully juggle all the balls that life throws at me. Want to join my circus? Watch your step; the dogs are often a hard act to follow.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was it our famous Juggler with the Yellow Shoes? My sons love that guy.

12/12/2008 10:42 AM  
Blogger Carma Sez said...

I enjoyed your post -- especially since I have a bonafide juggler living at our house. His youtube name is "aussiediabolo" if you want to check him out sometime :)
Hope all is well in the drafty classroom!

12/12/2008 12:05 PM  
Blogger Flea said...

Your last line cracks me up! Like being behind the horse with diarrhea in the parade, huh?

I, um, will be tagging you tomorrow.

12/12/2008 2:44 PM  

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