Opportunity

Tomorrow is the first day of school. Parents and students will be gathered outside the building early tomorrow morning. Some will be excited, some nervous, some may even be afraid. Once again, they will be coming to school in a pandemic yet to be under control.

I have many thoughts, opinions, and experiences on this subject, but now is not the time. Now I have an opportunity. More important than any opinion I might share.

What is it? The opportunity to greet families. The opportunity to welcome students to the music room, making music with approximately 175 kiddos by the end of the day.

Will it all go the way I have planned? Probably not. And that is ok. Because the next day, I get to do it all again. A little more tired than the day before, but that is ok, too.

As for now, I think it is time for bed…😴

That Time of Year

Back to School! School supply shopping, bulletin boards, laminating, meet-the-teacher. Even planning those beginning of the year lessons. Lots of smiles and hugs. Old and new faces.

Doesn’t that sound exciting? It is supposed to be…

And yet, here we are. Listening every day as people argue over how to deal with a virus that continues to make people sick and unnecessarily end lives. Listening as opinions are expressed passionately with little to no foundation, especially where schools are concerned.

I have had moments of excitement. My classroom looks inviting. Colorful dots on the floor and posters on the walls. Ready for students to enter one week from tomorrow.

I will be there to welcome them with a smile. Even though there will still be a knot in my stomach. I have had COVID and am fully vaccinated. My students are not yet eligible. Back to School feels like a test-one I do not want to fail.

Keep Writing

Ideas scattered
No inspiration
Whether to seek
Or to settle
Accepting
The need to let
My mind rest
Not sure
I know how…
Pick up the pen
Perhaps
Motor
Movement
Will trigger
Creativity
Perhaps not-
Either way
Watching
Words appear
Somehow
Slows
Racing heart
Cools
Heated face
Relaxes
Frantic brain-
Powerful process
Placing thoughts
On a page

Summer break is coming to an end. I am preparing for school to start. We continue to deal with living in a pandemic. Not surprisingly, my thoughts are scattered. And that is ok. There is strength in honesty. ❤️

Long-Hauler

Missing Coffee

I miss coffee
The rich aroma
In the morning
Waking up senses
Before the first sip

I miss coffee
A sweet flavor
In the afternoon
Conversation over
A cup, hot or iced

I miss coffee
An offering
At the end of day
To share in
Restful silence

I miss coffee
Aroma, flavor
Stolen away
By an unseen
Silent culprit

I miss coffee-but
Memories remain
Conversations flow
Rest still comes
I am thankful

When considering the destruction brought by COVID, coffee seems a small price to pay. So many have suffered major health issues, and many have died. The numbers are hard to fathom. And easy to forget, if not made personal.

This virus leaves lingering effects for many. COVID long-haulers has become a common term. And though symptoms vary greatly, none are pleasant.

I was diagnosed with COVID in January 2021. Everyone in our home tested positive. We all lost our sense of taste and smell to some degree. We all began to get them back to some degree. Then my symptoms took a strange turn.

One afternoon, I noticed a smell of rotten meat. That is the best way I can describe it. There was no rotten meat. Other things began to smell and taste bad. I now have a long list of things I cannot eat or drink, including coffee, chocolate, and most meats. And a shortlist of things I can tolerate.

I hesitated to write about this strange phenomenon. Did not want to complain. Then today, I thought more about why I miss coffee. I’ve always called it my comfort food. My first memories of drinking coffee are with my grandma. Coffee is part of family gatherings. It’s what I offer guests to make them feel at home. And the list goes on.

I am hopeful this will eventually go away, that my senses will return to normal. Until then, I remain thankful for my health in other respects. And I will continue to enjoy London Fog tea lattes-a pretty tasty substitute. Stop by-I will make you one. 🙂

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! ❤

Washed Away

It fell so hard
From the sky
I thought surely
It couldn’t be rain

Not frightening
Yet, deafening
No pauses
No discernable rhythm

A wall of sound
Capable of washing
Away more than
The dirt of the day

Fears and worries
Sadness, regrets
Were no match
For its cleansing

Washed away
Along with the
Remaining debris
Of a difficult season

A damp sidewalk
And peaceful silence
The only remains
Of the downpour

Sightline

Sightline is a common term in theater and art. It is also a buzzword in T.V. home renovation shows. As in, we must have a better line of sight to see the kids at all times. I understand the concept. And I can see the value at certain times.

Yesterday, I experienced a surprise sightline. One I never even considered. But once discovered, oh, so needed.

Due to COVID restrictions, we waited at an outside seating area during Dad’s heart surgery. Mom was the only one allowed in the surgery waiting room. Not complaining. We understand and appreciate the precautions.

However, the thought of her waiting alone…well, that was a hard one.

Of course, we could text and call, but nothing is the same as seeing, something we have all experienced during this time of the pandemic.

So, Mom calls:

“Are you still outside?”
“Yes.”
“I think I see you. Stand up and walk a few tables over.”
I walk.
“Yes! There you are!”
“Where are you?”
“Turn around and face the building. Now, look up toward the second floor.”

And there she stood, in the corner of the waiting room. We waved and laughed. It was a sweet turn of events.

A perfect sightline through several layers of glass and steel. An instant sense of joy and relief. A few moments of light-heartedness erasing the distance.

Update:

Dad’s surgery went very well! He is currently in ICU. This morning, he was sitting up in a chair. ❤ Only Mom can visit, but I was able to talk to him on the phone. So good to hear his voice.

Cocooned

Life in limbo
For a brief time
No place to be
No place to wait
Only one person
Allowed at a time
With the patient

No mulling around
In the lobby
Outside
Seating
Available
Perfect!
Now if only
Wind and rain
Would cease-
These times call
For lots of love
Often demonstrated
By a waiting room
Filled with family
And friends helping
To pass the time
COVID changes things
But it cannot stop
The outpouring of
Love and support
Sent by caring hearts
Across the miles
From wrapping
Around our hearts
Spinning a soft
Place to be
A place to wait-
Cocooned in peace

The Missing

I am here
You are here
We are all here
Tomorrow we go
Our separate ways
But the missing
Begins today…
Even in the smiles
Currently creating
Memories to
Carry us thru
Days ahead
The missing
Finds its way-
Sneaking in the
Backdoor of our
Thoughts trying
To distract us
From the present-
Unable to steal away
The happiness of
Togetherness
It quietly tiptoes
Back outside-
Tomorrow there will
Be no denying
The missing-
We will welcome it-
A reminder
Of lasting joy
Rooted in yesterday

Last weekend I visited my parents for the first time in six months! We were so happy to be face to face, holding on tight.

This past year, we could not celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, or birthdays with them…to say we have missed each other is an understatement.

We knew the visit would be short, but that was ok. And even though good-byes may have brought a few tears, the smiles are what will last. ❤

Good Tired

Last Friday was my first day back at school since before Christmas break. Not only that, the two weeks before Christmas break, we were in distance learning. Basically, my students and I had not been face-to-face for six weeks.

Two of my classes on Friday were brand new. These students had chosen virtual education for the first semester but were now returning to in-person learning. Some faces I recognized from last year, but there were many new ones.

I quickly realized the challenges of the day. There was a little hesitation from older students. One of my friends said, “Oh, Mrs. Morris! I thought you had quit.” I quickly reassured him that “Goodness no! I have been sick.”

Old connections needed to be reestablished. New connections had to be created. Good, but challenging work. I tried to physically rest as much as possible while teaching. But that was impossible with my first and second-grade classes.

Those littles were excited and ready for music. I found myself moving with them, pouring out what energy I had left. Those smiles, wide eyes, listening ears…responding and participating. It was so much fun!

At the end of the day, I was tired. But it was a good tired. The kind that gives me hope and pushes me to keep going.

Recurring Theme

There is such a tired
As good tired
Feeling accomplished
After working hard
Doing the right thing,
Simply because it’s
The right thing to do-
Not because of
Reaching the next
Step on the ladder
That is a never-ending
Cycle of exhaustion
Dependent on approval
Of those standing by
Watching and waiting
For a fall from grace-
No, this tired says
Job well-done
Now it is time to rest,
Sit beside quiet waters,
Listen and let the sound
Refresh mind, body, and spirit
As the work of life continues,
And good tired becomes
A recurring theme