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! ❤

Unfinished

Surely by now
I should be
Finished growing
I’m certainly tired
And somehow, tired
Leads right to selfish
Question after question
How much longer?
When can I do
Whatever
I want to do?
Seeing the words
On paper
Saying them
Out loud
Makes me want
To erase them
Suck them back in
And yet, they remain
Telling me I still
Have lots to learn
And in turn
Lots to teach-
I saw it in their faces today
Thru smiles and frowns
Unfinished lessons
Unfinished me

This is the point in the school year where I find myself thinking, “Do I have the energy to do this another year?” I am tired and ready for summer. But interactions with students this week confirmed that I am not yet finished. And a time of rest will provide the energy needed to start another school year.

Today I had an arm wrestling challenge with four third-grade boys. Can you say end of the school year? One more week…

Peeling Layers

Layers
Upon layers
Upon layers
Potatoes
Carrots
Onions
Each must lose
One of its layers
To fulfill
Its purpose
The sweetness inside
Filling the space
Between our actions
And our senses-
Layers
Upon layers
Upon layers
Grow over
Our hearts
A little harder
To peel away
Help is required
From a trusted hand
Precious insides
Revealed
Filling the space
Between our actions
And our senses
Healing the heart
Making us whole again

Granddaughter

Attended school until
The eighth grade
Not uncommon
For one born in 1923
Help was often
Necessary at home
Especially having
Elderly parents
Who needed care-
Married young
Babies came quickly
A full house of her own
But she was not
Uneducated as
Circumstances
Might suggest-
An avid reader,
Always a book in hand-
A thirst for knowledge
And meaningful conversations-
Needed to know the meaning
Or correct spelling
Of a word? The one to call-
I suppose you could say
She was self-taught-
If only I could
Call her right now
And tell her
How proud I am
To be called
Her granddaughter

Birthdays

Today is day one of year fifty-three! How is that possible? And my oldest son, who was born on my birthday, turns 26!

Teaching school on your birthday means lots of kids asking, “How old are you?”  I always make the older ones do the math.  But if youngers ask, I just tell them. 

Their reactions are precious!  And good for my self-esteem.  At least one will say, “Oh, you look a lot younger than that!” 😉 Of course today, one also mentioned that 53 was almost 100!

Birthdays are a time for celebrating and reflecting. And I have definitely felt celebrated! I suppose this poem is my reflection. ❤

Digging Holes

Some days I am
Tempted to dig
Holes deep in
The ground
Deep enough
To bury regrets
Yet, experience
Teaches that will
Only leave behind
A landscape marred
By mounds of guilt-
Perhaps planting
Would be a better
Choice than burying-
Sowing seeds
Of encouragement
Instead of judgment
Acceptance instead
Of comparisons
Recognizing that
Each of us has
Holes we could dig
Regrets we could bury
But we also have
The power to help
Fill ones scooped
Out by others
Tending a landscape
Covered by the beauty of
Love and understanding

Picture Reel

Frames play
In the back
Of my mind
Blurry, like a movie
Of faded memories…
Familiar, yet,
Not my own-
A young mom
Children at her feet
Gathered around
A black and white
Screen watching
The World Series
An avid baseball
Fan passing along
Her love of the game-
I have seen these
Children before
Though not as
They appear
And the mom?
This version
Is unfamiliar-
We will meet
But she will not
Share her love of
Baseball with me
One of her children
Will splice their own
Childhood images
Permanently into
My life’s reel-
Mother
To daughter
To granddaughter