Saturday, June 15, 2013
the geometry teacher
The room is full of tired students,this being the next to the last class of the day.The windows of the room face the street and more than one girl is thinking,soon we will be finished with this mystery that is geometry.
The teacher is Sister Mary Ulick and she is a plain ,no nonsense woman ,clad all in black.I don't recall a joke or light remark passing her lips.This was serious work getting a gaggle of girls interested in and understanding rhombuses.She was an enigma to us because she was all work.
And yet,on the first day of Spring, something remarkable happened in that class.We would drag in as always and when we settled down, she would fling open the three big windows and say in her simple way;"Look girls, look at the glory of God."She would point to the new buds on the maples that lined Cathedral Avenue.Gesture with her hand to the blazing pink and red azaleas across the street, and breath in deeply of the new warm air.We were mesmerized .Our eyes followed hers and we drank it in,this long awaited Spring.The next day, we were back to isosceles triangles.She did this every year.
What I now think she was saying was:"Girls,like you, I want to take off this uniform and run madly around in the grass singing Cohen's "Hallelujah".Let's do this now.I'll meet you out there and we will shout for joy and singing like birds".I think I can see her more clearly now.I picturre her at a desk in the convent writing poems in the evening light.Hidden behind the walls, what beauty did she put on paper that has never been seen ?Who among us did she inspire to be poets by her rapture on that spring day when the windows were flung open and the air was sweet?