Chasing Airplanes

19 Apr

As I drive to college in the early evening, I pass along the back side of our city’s airport, down a road that parallels the runways.  Between the landing strip and the fence is a grassy meadow, home to training equipment for airport firefighters, a pile of broken concrete and twisted rebar.

It’s also home to a group of rabbits who have made their warren in the shadow of the incoming planes.

I have watched them now, for three springs,  as I wait at the traffic light. They emerge from the rubble to nibble at wildflowers, chase their baby rabbits away from the pavement.

And they race the planes.

Under the shadow of  everything from 747s to Cessnas, the rabbits run, blurs of fur as they speed alongside the runway.

I don’t know if they think the planes are some kind of rabbit nightmare — giant mechanical hawks ready to pluck them from the grass , or if they just like to run.

I suspect the latter.

In three years, I’ve never seen those rabbits beat an airplane. But I dare any hawk to try and catch them.

I think a lot about those rabbits these days, with just a few short weeks before graduation.

I’ve been blessed in these years with my own planes to chase.

They came in the form of professors that challenged the ideas I had, pushed me to learn more that I thought I could, set goals for me higher than the ones I would have set myself. Academics who gunned their engines and dared me to keep up. Joked with me about running for the state board of education, recommended graduate schools, asked “have you thought about teaching college?”

Airplanes. That soared overhead and flew much higher and faster than I had my sights set on.

I still don’t know about any of those ideas. Right now, I just want a chance — despite budget cuts and standardized tests and the pervasive policy silliness — to step into a classroom in the fall and be a teacher.

But I do know this. I am stronger and better for the chase.

And grateful.

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6 Responses to “Chasing Airplanes”

  1. Octopusgrabbus April 19, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    The rabbits sound pretty cool. I think it’s they like to run, as well.

  2. Karen April 19, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

    You and the rabbits make me happy. Congratulations!

  3. Jenny April 19, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    I would be proud to have you stand before my children in the classroom. I am certain you will be amazing as a teacher, for you are more than amazing in every other way.

  4. Bridget Ivey April 19, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    “… set goals for me higher than the ones I would have set myself.” Love when that happens!

  5. Nicole April 20, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    So proud of you! Students (and their parents) will be lucky to have you as their teacher!

  6. Elle April 21, 2011 at 8:02 am #

    Dawn, I’m so amazingly proud of you. I know that whatever path you choose, you’ll leave your mark on so many more people’s lives than you already have.

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