In Milwaukee this morning, it's beautiful. 70 degrees, blue sky, calm.
On the east coast, though, Hurricane Irene continues to batter people with high winds and heavy rain.
That kind of surreal difference is an appropriate metaphor for the Sunday before the start of school tomorrow.
It's quiet in my house, I'm drinking coffee and eating my oatmeal at a leisurely pace. Tomorrow I will be rushing to get on my bike in time to make it to school.
The kids show up Thursday, and by then I'll be out of my mind excited and ready. The first three days of teacher school drive me crazy. They're necessary - meetings, preparation, discussion - but that's only a cloud until the stormburst of kids shows up Thursday morning.
They'll be scared, excited, sad to see summer end and school start. The usual bundle of conflicting emotions. Little hurricanes.
Meanwhile, today, I'm watching the weather channel for updates. Good friends are riding the storm out, and I'm worried for their safety. The calamity of Katrina in New Orleans is still too fresh in my memory.
Unlike my students, there's not much good that comes out of a hurricane, especially one that crushes major cities like Irene.
For me today, it's all about waiting and preparing. The wonderful storm that is a new group of 7th graders starts Thursday. As I fine tune my lessons, I'll keep an eye on the weather and keep praying for the safety of the people on the east coast.