Poetry Friday is hosted today by Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche
We shared this poem in class today, written Anne Atwell when she was a student at Nancie’s school – where she now teaches. It’s from Naming the World: A Year of Poems and Lessons – a lovely collection of poems and poetry lessons. My kids, perched on the edge of leaving the relative innocence of 6th. grade for the greater all-knowingness of 7th. grade, dove into the wistful wisdom of the poem. The second stanza, especially, drew many comments. Someone mentioned that the same could be said for our room, which had become a timeline of their growing up, filled with relics they must leave behind.
I smiled at first, and then felt tears welling up. I, too, am a relic they must leave behind.
Late afternoon light
kisses translucent curtains
the way it has year after year,
as familiar as the wallpaper
I chose from a patchwork quilt of samples
back when I couldn’t imagine a time
I’d want to look
at anything else.
The wallpaper frames a sampler embroidered
Friendship, Love, and Truth:
words that take on new meanings
as friends come, go, stay.
And the books overflowing their shelves –
each is a relic left behind
as a timeline of this room
and the person who lives here.
A life hides
in a jumble of outgrown running shoes,
the blank pages of journals too beautiful to write in,
the empty windows of a dollhouse too precious to put away,
a dusty pink boa framing a cloudy mirror,
the collection of boxes, each housing a story, a memory,
the worn red collar of the dog that died,
and, under the bed, a puppy’s lost tennis ball.
Darkness will come soon.
I know, because it has every other night.
I’ll rest my head upon a pillow
that witnessed a thousand emotions.
I’ll blink into the orange glow of the streetlight
until my eyelids close
and I dream amidst the pinks and blues
of my past,
~ Anne Atwell-McLeod
We are up in Washington County today, beginning the day with great trepidation. It’s home inspection day – and both my husband and I are filled with nervous excitement. The excitement is easy to explain – we love this house, and feel that love in our bones every time we visit it. The nerves? Well, we are buying a farm built in 1861, with many outbuildings. It has stood proudly at the crest of a beautiful valley for many long years. It’s last owners tended to it with great care and knowledge. Today, however, we will learn its structural secrets – and we hope that these are ones that we already know, not ones that will make us break out in sweat, gulp, and look at each other and say: what have we done? yikes!!!!
We walked around the house yesterday, wading through tall grass and a few downed branches. I could see the beginning of peonies among the feathery stands of ferns, hydrangea here and irises there. Promises of summer blooms. Up close, I could see the many layers of paint this house has worn through the years, like the weathered wrinkles of a grand lady who has seen much, survived much, lived through good times and bad.
Hello, old friend, I whispered, tell us your secrets…open your arms to us…we are here.
Digilit Sunday was created and is hosted by Margaret Simon @ Reflections on the Teche – join us and share your digital teaching ideas!
Challenge this week: Turn an image of nature into a work of art: #photoart
Tomorrow morning, we drive up to Washington County and get ready to inspect our new house. As everyone who has had a conversation with me for the last few weeks knows, the purchase of this house is very much on my mind. It is, quite often, all I want to think about and talk about. When I visualize myself up at the farm, I most often see myself here – on the front porch, writing. My heart and soul are firmly grounded in my teaching life, but this summer will be the beginning of my writer’s life…. (the quote is from Virginia Woolf’s seminal book, “A Room of One’s Own”.
Celebrate with Ruth Ayres @ ruth ayres writes …. because, we need to celebrate moments in our lives every chance we get!
This week I celebrate loosening the reins. All school year long, I make it a practice to start teaching two minutes before the bell rings. I’m all about letting my kids know that I take their learning time seriously, that there is an urgency to our need to get to the work we must begin right away:reading great books, talking about them with passion and curiosity, writing from the heart, and learning about history – how things got to be the way they are, what we can do to bring about change.
That was then…
Now…with a few short weeks to go, it’s time to loosen the reins. My kids are exploding with summer excitement, and weary of the school routine. For all the love that has grown between us, they do not wish to be in the classroom any more. So, I step back, take a deep breath, and loosen the reins. Like high strung thoroughbreds, they can sense it. And they respond beautifully. There is definitely more laughter and chattiness, but a word or a look from me brings them back in line. No one wants those reins to tighten again.
On Friday morning, I looked out over a roomful of sixth graders prepping for a quiz. They were dutifully going over notes, and I started to feel guilty. What was I thinking? How mean was it to schedule a test the Friday before a long weekend? Ugh! So, I changed gears. The test became a group project. Here’s how we covered divisions between the North and South on the eve of the Civil War, the meaning of Lincoln’s great “house divided” speech, and the impact of Lincoln’s childhood on his character and outlook:
We had fun.
Yup, loosening the reins is definitely something to celebrate!
Livy is home. Music in the house again.
All three of our children are musical and have a gift for it – a gift from their father. When they are home, there is always someone singing at the piano, strumming a guitar, or talking through a new song they heard, a new musician they have discovered.
While they were home, I was always aggravated by the guitars and their cases, and the sheets and sheets of music that I was constantly tripping over or having to tidy up. But I loved working late into the night to the sound of their practicing, or the fact that every time they took a shower, I’d hear a song come trilling down the stairs – tile walls make for great acoustics. And I loved the eclectic mix of songs and sounds I’d hear – from the familiar folk music of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez to strange new indie tunes I found myself humming along to as well.
Each had their own practice times: Elizabeth played the harp only after 1 a.m., Ben played every free moment he could find, and Livy most often practiced when no one else was home. The best times were when they happened to be at home and decide to create music together – this was most often very late at night. There were many nights when I’d be awakened by the sounds of song and laughter; as annoyed as I was to have my sleep interrupted, something also told me to just stay still and listen…this time would pass, and I would miss it.
But, Livy is home and now there is music again. Tonight, she played her first after dinner concert for us, her audience of three: mom, dog, and cat. We loved it. We are ready for an encore.