Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Sound of Crickets

    The sound of crickets reminds me of late summer in childhood.  Right before we had to go back to school, play became more important because we knew there was an end in sight.  We would stay out in the dusk till the last possible moment, but always the cricket's chirp was a reminder that it was late summer, and school was just days away.  My mother would be in the steamy kitchen canning peaches or other summer fruits, and somehow we got away with staying out late playing tag with the neighborhood children.  We really wouldn't have time to spend with them freely again until the next summer, and by then a whole year at school would have changed us all.
  Since today's cricket is chirping in the morning... it brings to mind my red plaid lunch box, crisp cool mornings of the first school days, apprehension about the new school year to come.  As E B White says in Charlotte's Web, for adults the crickets song is a reminder that summer is over and gone.   The vegetables are ripe, the annual plants looking a little worse for wear...time to get down to business.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Holding On and Letting Go

     All the stages of life require change to grow, but some are more painful than others.  Even though the years my kids were dependent on me were insanely busy, it is what I loved to do.  I knew that it was time for my daughter to move on and spread her wings when she went off to college.  There was just that sense that she needed something more in her life than what we could give her by keeping her here.  I was fine with it, and she was happy and excited in her new life as we drove away.  Her brothers were busy in high school football, so when I would come home from school no one was there.  No one really needed me anymore.  There was no one to "mother".  This was a huge blow that I didn't see coming for some reason.  The need to be needed was something that had become so much a part of me I was lost.
    It took some time and some help from others to adjust to the new life of independence, for me!  Now I have to relearn it all again every year when they leave after being here in the summer.  I rejoice that there will be less dirty dishes, clutter I didn't leave, and piles of laundry, but grieve because of the silence and the loss of their presence in our home.  I rejoice at the exciting new things in their lives and know that this is truly living, to let them pursue their dreams, always knowing we are here for them if they need us.
     This song by Ross Copperman expresses it well: Holding On and Letting Go...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Mediterranean Dreams

     Kasni arrived in the  Mediterranean with a sigh of relief.  It would be heavenly to get up in the morning and look out over the sparkling waters of the sea and feel the warm scented breeze.

She planned to have breakfast on the warm stone patio, and then go to an open market and buy fresh fruits and vegetables to make a healthy lunch.

She would try to spend every day outdoors exploring, or relaxing with a good book on the patio.
When she had unpacked she went out to explore.  There were beautiful red flowers growing along the rocky shore.  She took a deep breath of the crisp, fresh air.  "Things are going to be different from here on in.  I am determined to make it so," she mused.
   After lunch she made good on her resolution to spend the day outdoors by hiking the rocky hillsides.
When she got to the summit there was a wonderful view of the isle of Crete stretching before her as far as her eyes could see.  There were olive green groves interspersed with rocky cliffs against the most beautiful hazy blue sky.   Two lonely sheep were her only companions.  Here, for a time, she could find peace and contentment.

At dusk she headed towards town to the cobbled roads to see what everyone else was doing.  The street lights were lit so she could see the boats bobbing gently against the shore in the harbor. The beauty of it all took her breath away.  As she walked down the street the architecture intrigued her. Her old life seemed distant and far away in her memory.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Things I Would Never Put in a Poem- For Teachers Write

The Smell of Garbage
Bird droppings
exhaust fumes
mean math teachers
scornful people
bad hair day
dead plants
grass clippings
compost pile

Things I Would Never Put in a Poem or Story-now put in a poem or a story.  So much fun!
I could tell what kind of day this was going to be as I drove into town, the exhaust fumes of the traffic lingering in the humid air.  My hair had been perfect when I left the house, but soon reverted into its natural frizzy state as the moist air took its toll.  Not only would it be my first stressful day at school, it would also be a bad hair day, which made me grumpy before I even got there.

I remember with fondness
the day I was lying in the sun
on a pier at a lake resort
when suddenly a bird
sent a dropping my way.
Without missing a beat
my dad said "Bullseye"
as the droppings hit
a strategic target.
His quirky humor
has been passed on.
When I was young
I had a mean math teacher
who made me feel very small
and insignificant as well as
This inspired me to be the kind of teacher
that will never make students feel this way.
I try to be infinitely patient
when they don't understand
a concept.
Scornful people and
can help us see what not to be
and make us better people than
we might have been without them.
After mowing the lawn
I happily sprinkle the
grass clippings on
top of the dead plants
in the compost pile
knowing that they will decompose
and go back into the beauty of nature.
The smell of garbage reminds me
that things are breaking down
nurturing the earth below it,
turning it into rich crumbly humus
to replenish the soil.

The smell of garbage
brings a reminder of the day
 I read the letter telling me
you were leaving me.
The memories of our time together
buzz around my mind
like flies attracted to refuse.
My thoughts of you are withered, dead plants
to be added to the compost pile
to decompose along with the
grass clippings of the love I had for you.
All that we had together
breaking down to decay.