Walking in Wyoming

I went for a walk in Wyoming
My eyes could not decide
Which way to look-
Up at the sky
What is that shade of blue?
To the right
Snow-topped mountains
To the left
Fields of purple hues
In between
A lake so crystal clear
I could barely tell where
The mountain stopped
And its reflection began
A few more steps forward
Stop and breathe
Take a seat on a rock
Feel the cool breeze on my face
Hold the hand of the one I love
Try to take it all in-

A Wyoming walk
Leaves a permanent imprint
On my heart and soul

Power in Admission

I have shared openly about struggles with anxiety and depression. And I recognize there is always room for improvement in my coping skills.  

If I remember to breathe, it helps.  If I think ahead, I can prepare for problematic situations. Nevertheless, sometimes things just happen.

My husband and I just returned from a trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. Beautiful does not adequately describe either of these places. The vastness and variety in these almost untouched lands are overwhelming.

And yet, even during our wonderful trip, anxiety crept in. We had been exploring Yellowstone all morning and decided to drive to the Tetons. This was the first visit to this area for both of us, an adventure.  

This particular drive brought a little more adventure than I preferred. We were driving along, listening to history and information about the area, when the road suddenly took us right along the edge of Clark Canyon.  

A quick glance out the window, and I began to panic. My body had an instant reaction. My heart sank, began beating rapidly. My stomach felt like it had been turned upside down. I wanted to crawl in a hole. Yes, I endured. But it was not fun.

Those anxious feelings crept back in later that night. I had trouble sleeping. Would tomorrow’s drive be similar? Slow, deep breaths finally helped, and I was able to sleep.

The next morning, we were on the road again. We had a basic plan of places we wanted to see. Our first stop was great! Some incredible, colorful geothermal displays. But soon, I was feeling afraid of the unknowns. Would we have to drive on any roads like the one yesterday? Just the thought and anxiety began to rise.

Finally, I said it aloud. “The thought of a drive like yesterday is making me feel panicky. I’m not sure I can do it.” After saying those words to my husband and allowing a few tears to fall, I felt much better.  

He knows me well. His response was reassuring. Soon we were laughing and ready to face the rest of the day. He even asked a park ranger for advice on the least scary route for our last stop. (Which apparently was not an unusual request.) 😉

Now, I would be lying if I said there were no other moments of panic. However, they did not take over my thoughts. My physical reactions were not as severe, and I was able to enjoy the beauty of the places we visited.

No, I did not want to admit how I felt. But, oh, I am so glad I did. It was an important reminder there is power in admission.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Artist Point Overlook

Another Thread

Not simple
In form
A million
And one
Complexities
Flesh and blood
Soul and spirit
From birth to death
And each facet of
Life in between
Layers upon layers
Minutes, days, hours
Becoming years in
What feels like a
Matter of seconds
History alive in
The physical-
A resemblance
A representation-
History alive in
The spiritual-
A passion
A purpose-
Another thread
Woven thru the
Continuing story
In this tapestry
Of passing time

Missing Pieces

At the beginning of quarantine, we worked a couple of jigsaw puzzles at our house. A way to pass the time while keeping the brain working. It is always interesting to me to watch how tiny pieces fit together to create one big picture.

The pieces all have different colors and shapes. Each one with its own place. Only fitting together with those directly surrounding. The togetherness grows exponentially. However, if there is just one missing piece, the picture is incomplete. So frustrating.

Each of us is born into a picture. With a family that will love us and helps us grow. Sadly, that is not always the case. And the missing pieces often leave big holes.

Children especially have a difficult time finding their place when these pieces are missing. They do not understand. Whether withdrawing or acting out, they are seeking control. This is sometimes hard to remember as a teacher.

Yesterday, I reacted to certain behaviors with little thought to what was behind them. They were frustrated. I was frustrated. I kept thinking, “If only these friends would listen and follow directions like everyone else!”

This morning, I woke up thinking about those friends. I wanted to find a way to improve the situation. Find a way to encourage appropriate behavior and participation. After all, music class is supposed to be fun!

But how? One word came to mind-connections. I know that is the key. Sometimes I just need a reminder.

Today, I worked on those connections. In the process, I discovered some of the missing pieces. The death of a parent, negative influences from older siblings, family instability. These little ones are dealing with big emotions and don’t know why or how to express them.

Our time together was brief. Leaving me with more questions than answers. However, there was also a glimmer of hope. Little faces, often angry, smiling just a bit. Showing a desire to do the right thing. Even if only able for a limited amount of time.

There is no way for me to fill in those missing pieces. They are irreplaceable. All I can do is recognize and acknowledge. But maybe the edges can be blurred, and a new picture of belonging will emerge. Causing the frustrations of the missing pieces to fade.

Feeling Warmth

Flames playfully
Dancing over
Shiny pebbles
Of cobalt blue
Warming the
Cool night air

Steam steadily
Rising from
A cup of tea-
Honey and chai-
Warming this
Chilled body

Another sitting
Quietly nearby
Strengthing
Thru the silence
Warming my
Tired heart

Stresses fading
Into the dark
Calmly ending
A long week
Feeling warmth
In a new season

All or Nothing

Giving all of anything is
Quite a commitment
Particularly when
There is no way
Of knowing what
Time will be required

All of me
All of my love
All of my time
All of my days

Whether part of a 
Cross-my-heart promise
Or the title of 
A favorite song
Life does not tell us
How many days remain

A definitive number
Is found only in
The days passed
Never to return

So, I settle on today
This hour, this moment
Right this second
That is all there is
And I must choose
To give all or nothing
 

Spilled Out

Some days
On the inside
I am still a child
Finding her way in this
Ever-changing world
Asking the same
Old questions-
Where do I belong?
What is my purpose?
What happens next?

Other days
On the outside
Wonder abounds-
Light-lined clouds
Rumbling rolls of thunder
The rhythm of the rain-
Offering answers-
Right where you are
Exactly what you’re doing
One day at a time

Confident answers
That blanket the
Cares of adulthood
In warm affection
Leaving behind
Newfound freedom
And transformation-
Clouds become smiles
Thunder-outstretched hands
Rain-an arm around a shoulder

I suppose that child
Will always be there
Some days filled
With questions
Other days listening
For answers that
Continually fill with
Only one purpose-
To be spilled right
Back out again

For the First Time

We are in our fourth week of school-during a pandemic, attempting to social distance, everyone wearing masks, etc. School, unlike anything we have experienced before.

Today, during my fifth-grade class, I had this sudden urge to see their faces. At the end of music class, I reminded them about the importance of wearing masks. Then I told them I missed seeing their faces, and we would be taking a quick mask break.

I explained that we would take our masks off, then I would count down from five to zero, and we would put them back on.

Those five seconds felt like walking out into the sunshine. Smiles everywhere! Then I heard a student shout, “Mrs. Morris!” As if he had just recognized me!

As we put our masks back on, I started to tear up. “You look like you’re about to cry,” another student said. “I am,” I admitted. “And now my glasses are fogging up! How am I supposed to read you guys a book?”

We all laughed. I choked back my tears and made it through a few pages before it was time to go.

Wow! Four weeks in and today, it feels like we saw each other for the first time. I had forgotten the power of a smile. And multiplied by twenty, well, there is nothing quite like it.

This one, spur-of-the-minute decision changed the trajectory of my whole day. Yes, the masks were still there. But for a few seconds in each class, I saw sweet faces. And those sweet faces have no idea how much they helped this struggling teacher. ❤

Limited Supply

When young
Time seemed
An endless
Supply with
Little thought
Given to limits

Wished away in
A rush to meet
Each milestone
Without fully
Understanding
Its significance

Until years later
When the reality
Of limits became
Exceedingly clear

Times where
Life and death
Suddenly carried
Similar weight

Each new loss
A connection
To the past

Each new life
A hope for
The future

Quiet lessons
In limited supply

Time in a Bottle by Jim Croce~~Kelley Morris, piano

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them
I’ve looked around enough to know
That you’re the one I want to go
Through time with

Rediscovered

I love it when I rediscover something. Especially when it involves music. Such was the case this week.

I happened to notice a friend sharing a new music album on their Instagram. The name of the album was Out of Body, the group Need to Breathe.

“Oh yeah, I used to listen to them. Such a great sound. Maybe I’ll check it out.”

Later that evening, I downloaded the album. It played in the car on my way to school the next day and again on my way home. On the second listen, one song stood out-Banks. The following lyrics stuck with me.

I wanna hold you close but never hold you back

I’ll be the banks for your river

Turned out to be the inspiration for a poem. 🙂

Riverbank

Walking
Alongside
The riverbank
Wondering
What it might
Have to say

Wisdom
Gathered
In tiny bits
Only when
The water is
Still and quiet

Changes
In the current
Noticed by
Trees leaning
In just close
Enough

These wise
Residents
Hold hands-
Keeping
The river
In place

Sometimes
The bank
Allows itself
To be overtaken
When the river
Loses its way

Patiently
It waits for
The waters
To recede
And continue
On their journey

Strength
Evidenced in
Roots and trees
Dirt and rocks
Always faithful to
Its fickle friend

Humility
In willingness
To give up a
Part of itself
Every time
The river strays

Wondering
If the riverbank
Will share some
Of its wisdom
While I quietly
Take a seat