Can a T-junction be a metaphor for life?
Week Monday 14th June — Friday 18th June 2021
In the primary schools I’ve worked with, the ones I’ve been based at and the ones where I’ve been delivering cycling training so far, I’ve seen the same notice, or variations of it: “Please, do not leave any dirty dishes/glasses/ cups/ mugs/cutlery in the sink. Wash, dry and put them away.” Usually accompanied by a wild array (worthy of a Damian Hirst’s Turner Prize entry) of grease-stained plates left in the aforementioned sink.
Nothing like the countdown to the summer holidays echoing in a semi-empty staff room. It’s such a pleasure to hear teachers and teaching assistants working out the number of weeks left until the summer break after a Covid-struck sixteen months. It’s the same sense of normality I get as soon as I pedal off after a few days without cycling.
Whilst waiting for the children to come out to the playground today I saw a magpie perched on a branch. I was suddenly reminded of the nursery rhyme. What’s not clear in the text is the time lapse between birds. For instance, I happened to see just the one magpie today, does that mean that I’ll have sorrow, even if another one joins it after a couple of seconds, thus, turning my sorrow into joy?
I can’t wait to see seven magpies, though, if only to reveal the secret that was never to be told.
Negotiating a T-junction on two wheels is as just showing sharp observation and position skills as it is a good lesson for life. You don’t pull out of a junction (assuming you’re travelling on the side or minor road) without checking. Similarly, in life you shouldn’t jump into situations without thinking. Of course, occasionally we come up against unexpected events and our centuries-old fight-or flight instinct takes over. But when possible, consider doing what good riders do: wait until the road is clear and only then, proceed.