Freeze Frame

Pictures holding
History stored
In memory banks
Called to the surface
In a single snap
Of my fingers
Leaving me
Wondering
Why that?
Why now?
Why then?
Times I would
Like either
To forever
Forget or
Always
Remember
Each frame
Projecting
Enough
Power to
Push me into
A time-warp
Of emotions
Unless…
I slow down
Pay attention
Freeze
Each
Frame
Long enough
To grasp
This truth-
The past
Enriches
The present
Either by
Making me
Thankful
For changes
Grateful
For growth
Or content
With constants

Teachable Moments

Writing helps me process feelings. During one of my classes today, I decided to put that truth into practice. It wasn’t a terrible class, just loud. Lots of yelling at each other, mostly playing but foiling my attempts to teach songs/play instruments.

I could feel myself getting frustrated. So, I decided to try something different. I started a short music video, and I began to write. Some noticed, curious. And when the video ended, I explained what I had done.

I explained how writing helps me process my feelings. And that I was feeling frustrated. Then I read to them my words.

I love my job. But there are some moments. Especially the crazy ones that follow the awesome ones. The awesome ones are filled with music and laughter. So worth the energy.

I want each class to have that experience with me. To see the me that loves music. The me that loves life. The me that loves them. Not the me constantly saying, Sit down! Listen! Please don’t hit each other with the rhythm sticks or lick the dots on the floor.  Maybe next time…

It was suddenly quiet. I had kept myself from overreacting. They were listening.

Reflecting back on the day, it was mostly the fun kind of exhausting. This was only one small piece. A piece I felt was worth sharing. Because perfection is never the goal. The goal is learning. Life-long learning. And sometimes the lesson is for the teacher. ❤

Worth Carrying

Holding your little hand
As we walk
From outside
Thru the doors
Down the hall
To your classroom
Today
Unlike yesterday
I gained
Your trust
And trust
Is always
Worth carrying

Seeing your sweet smile
As you exit
Your car
Walking towards me
On the sidewalk
Stopping for a hug
And a quick
I’ll see you tomorrow
Today, I felt
Your joy
And joy
Is always
Worth carrying

Seeing tears
Fill your eyes
As we talk
In the hallway
At the end of
A difficult day
So many questions
So hard on yourself
Today, I offered
Encouragement
And encouragement
Is always
Worth carrying

As this day ends
I wonder
What will be
Worth carrying
Tomorrow?

Once again, I had the privilege of joining a poetry circle facilitated by Ali Grimshaw https://flashlightbatteries.blog/. It was the perfect end to a long day of teaching. To write, not worrying about what shows up on the page. To listen intently to others and be heard with the same intention. Time to be still and reflect. Not to mention, getting to know people from all over the world. What a joy! ❤️

Never a Straight Line

Out of Body by Need to Breathe was my Friday morning drive soundtrack. I love this album-every song. I have listened to it many times.

That morning was the start of the last day of the first week of school. I was exhausted. My music choice was intentional. I wanted to have the same energy from my previous two days of teaching. Not an easy task.

The song Hang On was playing. It is high-energy, fun, encouraging. As I sang along, one line stood out like never before.

So hang on to the light in your eyes and the feeling. Hang on to your love drunk original reason.
And all these things I’ve learned, it’s never a straight line.

Uphill
Downhill
Around
A curve
Sometimes
A guardrail
Sometimes not
At the onset
My destination
Seemed clear
The plan
Clearly
Mapped
Things look
Different
On paper

Detours
Construction
Roadblocks
Caused confusion
Second-guesses
Until finally
I realized
It is not about
The destination
It is about
The journey
And the best
Journeys
Are never
A straight line

Scenes from School

Scene One

A third-grade class is entering the music room. One little boy says, “You remember me.” “Of course, I remember you!” He gives me a big hug and says, “I missed you so much!”

He was in my music class last year.

Scene Two

A fourth-grader calls out to me from the cafeteria line. “Hey, Mrs. Morris. What happened to your hair?” “What do you mean?” “Well, it looks whiter.” We had a good laugh.

He was in my music class last year.

Scene Three

Fifth grade is entering the music room. I see familiar eyes smiling above a face mask. Suddenly, this student is hugging me and will not let go. “I missed you so much!” When she let go, there were tears in her eyes. And then, of course, tears in mine. “Oh, my goodness. You were in virtual all last year! Look how tall you’ve gotten!” She nodded her head and smiled.

She was in my music class two years ago. My first year at this school. And we were only in person until Spring Break due to the beginning of the pandemic.

All Are Welcome Here by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman

We often talk about the importance of connections. We don’t always grasp their power at the moment. Sometimes we might not see the results at all. And yet, we continue. Each day, learning a little bit more about these precious ones placed on our path. Each day, challenging them to grow. Each day, showing them they are loved.

I am grateful for these sweet reminders on this second day of school. Oh, and for the power of laughter. 😉❤️

Time to Breathe

Notes
Rests
Sound
Silence
Working
Together
To make music
Pleasing
Not only
To the ears
But also
Body, mind, soul
And yet,
One key
Element
Is often
An afterthought-
Silence
If not
Savored
Disappears
Transposing
Sweet melody
To mere noise
Leaving
No time
To breathe
No time
To sing

Simply Sunday

Summer Night

I can feel it
In my bones
Sense it
Slowly
Approaching
Though still
Far away
Tensions
Being to rise
Along with
The growing
Bank of darkness
What to do?
Not a matter
Of if but when
It will arrive
Do I make
Preparations
For something
Over which
I have no control
Or do I sit still
Breathing
Watching
Praying
Welcoming
With open arms
Lessons sure
To be left behind
Once the storm passes

Favorite Songs

No memories
Of my own
With which
To compare
Only descriptions
Heard in
Favorite songs
Until now…
Driving thru
Stockbridge
Lennox, Lee
Witnessing
The greens
Shining
Dreamlike
In the Berkshires
Quaint towns
Connected by
Winding roads
Surrounded by
Rolling hills
Under blue skies
And moonlight-
Each one holding
Its own history
Of joy and pain
Both personal
And collective-
Places once alive
Only in songs
Now alive anew
As music and
Snapshots are
Forever forged
In my mind

Raising Your Hand-A letter to my former student

I will never forget the first time I saw you, my new student. You hobbled sideways down the hall. Balance so bad, I was sure you would fall. Yet, you had learned the quickest way to get around or getaway!

One of your arms had to be amputated when you were a baby. Your vision and hearing were impaired. I cried at the thought of being your teacher.

I am not proud of my initial reaction. But I had no idea where to begin, how to connect. And no idea how you or I would manage with the other students in my classroom. As is so often the case, you became the teacher.

Oh, it was far from easy. Working to discover what you understood, what you wanted or needed. Sometimes it was trial and error, but you would not allow anyone to give up. And though you were often frustrated, your happy moments were life-changing.

One, in particular, is forever etched on my heart.

Our class was fortunate to have a college student volunteer in our room weekly. He was tall and quiet, and the students loved him. He would push them high in the swings on the playground.

One day, as the students were lining up to come in from recess, something interesting happened. Our young college friend was picking each student up so they could touch the ceiling where they stood. Each one excitedly waited for their turn. Each one reached up as if they were reaching the sky. It was a precious sight.

And then I saw you, my new friend. You were hobbling sideways up the grassy slope as fast as you possibly could move. Making your way up the sidewalk, fully aware of what was happening in that line.

You jumped up and down in front of our college friend, raising your one hand high in the air. There may not have been any words, but you were clearly saying, “My turn! Pick me up now. I want to touch that ceiling.” So, he did. And I have never heard such sounds of pure joy in my life.

I often wonder what happened to you. Even then, I worried about what your future would hold. I hope you are safe and well. You taught me so much in the short time I knew you.

Spaces

Certain spaces
In this life
Feel empty
Certain spaces
In this life
Look dark
Even though
They are not-
Not completely-
Each of us
Fills the moments
Of our days
Each of us
Fills the span
Of our years
No matter
The length
Of said spaces
Even when
We are alone
Light remains-
Your light
May seem faint
For a time…wait
Allow me
To see it
And together
Our days
Will be brighter
Our years
Fulfilled

Yesterday was the last day of school. The last day of school for a tough year. Teaching and attending during a pandemic created challenges we continue to process.

Certain times of the year felt dark, frustrating. But as time went on, stresses seemed to lift a little at a time. We accepted our new normal and continued to do what we do.

As school ended yesterday, I was not prepared for the tears from students. Uncontrollable crying over the idea of leaving their current teachers.

Teacher friends, don’t ever doubt the influence of your light in the classroom. Even while dealing with our own concerns and fears, students saw lighthouses in the storm.

Now it is time to rest. Time to reflect. Time to stoke the remaining embers and prepare to see those faces smiling back at us in August!

Happy Summer! ❤