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

The Right Word

Today was our last day of quarantine. It’s back to work tomorrow! Three of us have been together in this house for three weeks. All of us sick, but all of us together. And quite often, we were sitting in front of a warm fireplace.

As I sat down to write, I couldn’t seem to find the right words. So, I decided to read this precious book my daughter gave me for my birthday. I had read some of it before, but this time I read cover to cover. And there was only one word that would do.

Inglenook

Discovered a
New word today
Whose quirky
Appearance
Caught
My eye
Attempting
Pronunciation
Brought a chuckle
I read it fast
Inglenook…inglenook
I repeated it slowly-
In-gle-nook
As quickly as
Articulation
Made me laugh
Meaning
Made me smile-
Picture a bench
Nestled by a cozy fire
Imagine yourself
Sitting there
But not alone
A beautiful space
Happily shared
Your very own
Inglenook-
I like the way that sounds!

Shifting

Didn’t take long
A few minutes
Maybe five
My face turned
Toward the sun
Soaking up its
Light and warmth
Shifting my
Response
To this day
Cold air was
Not a deterrent
Favorite blue sweater
And soft grey slippers
Made certain of that
Back inside
Warm and cozy
Still wearing my
Favorite blue sweater
I continue to feel
The sun on my face
Though no longer
Standing in the
Path of its rays-
Didn’t take long
A few minutes
Maybe five

My friend, Marina, keeps telling me to get outside and soak up some Vitamin D. Today, I finally decided to listen! 😉
Sunshine On My Shoulders~~Kelley Morris, piano

Bittersweet

I guess it’s my word of the day. I can’t seem to get it out of my head. The thought of it first came with my morning coffee…

I love coffee in all forms. My day usually starts with a simple cup of hot, black coffee. Yes, there are hints of bitterness, but a taste for them has developed over time.

Thanks to COVID-19, my taste and smell are almost zero. It is a strange sensation, obviously making it impossible to enjoy any food or drink.

In my current state, bitterness was the only taste in my morning coffee. No hints of anything else. Kind of like drinking hot water with an aftertaste of cough syrup.

Yesterday, I noticed a slight recognition of sweet. It was subdued but present. That gave me an idea. Coffee creamer to the rescue? It was worth a shot!

I filled the bottom of my cup with vanilla creamer. And then poured in the hot, steaming coffee. The result? Bittersweet. And that is not a bad thing. Today, it counts as an improvement!

FYI-It has been a tough week. No need for a symptom list. I’ll just say I am beginning to feel better. This virus is no joke, and it is so important to remain vigilant. Protect yourself and the ones you love by wearing a mask and taking precautions. ❤

Homesick

The mountain comes into view,
As I drive across the river bridge.
A drive I’d love to take today.
To me, a majestic outline, though
Small in comparison to other mountains
Barely high enough to garner the name

Hiking to its peak as a child was
Like standing on top of the world
Peering out over tops of trees
Roads, cars, and houses below
Appearing as toys in a tiny
Land of make-believe

Was home really as small as it appeared?

Time for exploring always
Ended too quickly-never enough
Time to stand on the edge.
But laughter followed as we
Made our way down the steep trail
Into the green valley below

The world again at eye-level
My head forever in the clouds

Pinnacle Mountain State Park
Never too old to feel homesick. ❤

Rainy with a Chance of Hope

Rain poured all night long. Thunderstorms make for sound sleep, but not this kind of rain. Sounded more like a flood.

I woke up several times during the night. Yep, it’s still raining. Made me feel restless.

When I finally decided to crawl out of bed and get my coffee, the sky was dark and gray. Still raining.

No lazing around. My husband and I had appointments for COVID tests this morning. Not exactly how I would have chosen to start the day, but necessary. (Feeling fine. 🙂 I will update later.)

About the time I was dressed, he said, “Look outside. It’s snowing!” Heavy white flakes were beginning to mix with the pouring rain. By the time we reached our test site, the precipitation had changed. No more rain. Just beautiful fluffy snowflakes!

I watched in awe of this lovely gift! I could feel a change in my spirit as the rain changed to snow- a perfect picture of this year that is about to end.

Yes, there has been much heartache. But there is still hope. And today, it comes in the form of countless snowflakes, each an original, falling from the sky to blanket the world outside.

Time Passes

Time is a funny thing. Looking at the clock, I see the seconds ticking away. Always the same, steady beat.

And yet, I foolishly think I have some control over its passing. Certain moments I try my hardest to slow down as if they will last longer. Others I try to push ahead, wanting them to be over already.

Here’s to taking each moment as it comes-all steady, sixty-seconds of it.

Stopping Time

What if I lie
Perfectly still
In the dark
Breaths shallow
Muscles relaxed
Surely time will
Stop for a moment
Allowing me a
Space to hold
One single note
Ringing in the air
A reminder of
Joy that sings
Even when
Days are hard
A simple request
One moment
Frozen in time
Melting away only
As your hand reaches
Through the darkness
To take hold of mine

Fast-Forward

Looking for the
Fast-forward button
Feeling like life
Is busy taking
Seldom giving
Desire to connect
Difficult to maintain
When physical touch
Is discouraged-
But time passes
No faster than
On the days
We can walk
Hand in hand
Arm in arm
Whispering in
One another’s ears
No-there is no
Fast-forward button
To be found
So, I wait
Ready for
Winter to pass
Flowers to bloom
Friends to embrace

Warm Blanket

Cold outside
Sun is shining
Sky is blue
But the air…brrr
Perfect paradox
When the visual
And physical
Do not match
Cold chills
My bones
As sunlight
Warms my face
One unable to
Fully exist
Without
The other
If my skin
Never felt
A chill, there’d
Be no joy in
A warm blanket
If my heart
Never knew
An icy touch
It would not
Know the warmth
Of your affection
Able to melt the
Coldest memories

There are only four days until Christmas. Our celebration will look different this year. Memories will be made, even while embracing sadness.

I’m choosing to view this year with a new perspective. One that looks inward, not tied to tradition simply for the sake of tradition. Digging deep for the joy that does not disappear when mixed with sadness.

Believing this challenging year will teach us more about what truly matters. Helping us look back with fondness at Christmas past and look ahead with hope to Christmas future.

Distance Learning Lesson No. 1

My school district is currently in distance learning. We have experienced it once before, but there is still much to learn. And I have a feeling the most important lessons will have little to do with academics. Oh, those will be woven in and out, but they will not be the lasting thread. No, the final fabric will be found in the simple attempts to cover the distance.

Distance…I do not like that word. It implies being away from family, friends, and now students. This is hard to explain to children, especially when we cannot see the ending.

I have been busy creating music activities to share. Students can access the lessons online. For the first one, I added a twenty-second voice recording-a short greeting with some basic instructions. Not a big deal…I thought.

These lessons also had a response page for students to share their favorite part of the story from this lesson. One precious kindergarten girl recorded her response. Her message was confusing at first.

“My favorite part was when she said I love you guys!” Hmmm, that was not part of this story. And then it hit me-she was talking about my twenty-second voice recording. At the end of the message, I said, “I miss and love you guys! Bye!”

Such a simple thing, I thought. Until this little voice spoke it back to me.

So, my first distance learning lesson? One phrase spoken from the heart covers more distance than any music lesson I could ever create.

In the Background

What if the
Whole of me
Was on display
Not just one
Tiny window
Showing only
My face to all
Looking in, but
An entire house
Made of glass
Allowing light
Into every crevice
Of my being
Even in the quiet
Corners of my heart
Where only
A certain few
Are allowed to look-
Would those
Who peer inside
Truly see me for me
Or only the things
I have carefully placed
In the background