Today as I was walking down the hall, I noticed a small group of first years huddled in a little cluster not far from a grove of tree-like seniors. The freshmen looked so young and innocent and small compared to the sturdy and confident older students. I realized that it was only partly about their respective heights; it was also about their carriage and body language. The blooming from childhood to young adulthood really seems to happen in these few years that they walk the halls of high school. I also realized that those particular freshmen, who seemed so small in comparison to the seniors, were actually all taller than I am. Heh.
I should be grading. I have a big stack of essays that really need to be done by tomorrow. But my gratitude list today is sort of centered around that stack.
1. All these stories. Perhaps it’s a little brutal, a little brusque, to ask these young folks whom I don’t really know to write essays for me, describing something that brought about a change in their lives. Oh, how tender, how vulnerable, their responses. I hold them like eggs, like butterfly wings, like whispers. Tales of joyful tears at the birth of a niece or a nephew, of tenderly nurturing small creatures, of leaving their homes to travel to the US to study, of deciding to care about their futures and their dreams. Oh, the stacks of grading can be a teacher’s bane, like mythological challenges to be overcome, but they hold such treasures. Such powerful and fragile treasures. Have I said how in love I am with these people who fill my days?
2. How a little bit of unplanned time in the classroom can sometimes turn into powerful discussion time. Yesterday, it was about how, when you stand up against something wrong, it makes it easier for the next person to do so. Today, it was parenting techniques, and helping children to develop intrinsic motivations to choose the “right” option instead of forcing them to follow the extrinsic motivation of threats of parental punishment. Really. These are wise and thoughtful folks.
3. Monarchs on the move. I keep seeing them–it’s migration time.
4. Wild geese. The ones that fly overhead. The ones in Mary Oliver’s poem. The ones in Mary Black’s song. The one some call the Spirit.
5. Tomorrow we go to the beach. The farm work will go on here without us. The school work will get done in the cracks and spaces. And I will have a day and a half to breathe seas air and refresh and rejuvenate. Blessed be.
May we walk in Beauty.