Monday, September 26, 2011

Work as Play

Learning comes slowly when weariness is near.  How can I wake up to life and do even the simplest of tasks with energy?  Sleep more.  Lovely, long days of summer fade now in September and I will grow content with more sleep so that those few hours of the waking day are fresh and my soul stirs with the joy of doing. Look at Rogan,  how he creates the scene by setting that dinosaur so close he seems to be watching for the moment when the boy will take him up and make play.  I think that I can see my work like that - a toy to pick up and start to play here in the "fields of the Lord".

Thursday, March 31, 2011

I just want to see my grandson. March 31,2011

I have new pictures, one or two, that I pour over and make my background.  But I want to see him.  I want to hear his questions and his cries and I want to know him, to understand him and to be able to communicate that I love him.  His life, a long adventure of discovery before him, and mine still open but oh so much further on.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Shoes March 30, 2011

The Foot Zone solved the problem of a pronated foot.  My student is trying to run track and his knee is hurting.  We found out today it is because his shoes are not supporting his arch and the inward twist is transferring to his knee.  Great to find a solution and thanks to Tim at Foot Zone we have the answer.  He supplied the name of the song, playing in the store at the time, and the artist to my music loving "son".  Wonderful to watch discoveries being made every day.  Ended with the lyrics of "Bad to the Bone" being sung with gusto.  Love that abandonment to the joy of life and want to imitate it.  Fifteen year old boys can lead the way.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Work March 10, 2011

Wonder when I get up for the 7 am meeting how I will make it to the the 5 pm end.  But the day rushes by with meetings and moments with kids and their teachers and I remember work is this lovely, continual, communal arc of pleasure for me.  Weariness is the occasional side effect but sleep and health give back the joy each dawn. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Disappointment March 8, 2011

This afternoon a colleague told me of the tragic death of Mel Levine.  Having read his work and been moved to think differently about how people learn I am devastated by the news.  A hero has fallen and the dust is rising leaving an ugly cloud of disappointment.  I cannot find a way to think about it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The List. March 7, 2011

Today, the list was shortened.  Funny how I like to run from that list but running never makes it shorten.  Cancelled appointments made room for arranging doctor visits, gifts, haircut and the work of teaching words.  Tonight we studied "guilty" and talked of being guilty, feeling guilty and the fact that I can be guilty but not feel it.  I always feel it.  That nagging, incessant voice that says you should have done those jobs last week.  Just doing the list has taken down the feeling and left me lightened.  Next, we spoke of "character" that role or part someone plays in a book or movie.  But it is also that part of me that tells the world the kind of person that I am.  As we discuss this meaning it strikes me that more and more I want to be the one who does the list.  Is getting stuff done a trait?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My Boom March 5, 2011

Saturday.  The long, lovely, morning coffee and quiet conversation with my daughter.  Luxury of time to sit in the midst of love eating peanut butter toast.  Moving slowing towards a leisurely shopping trip then looking, checking, rejecting and finally buying a few clothes that should work.  Lunch at Boom Noodle where I read that, "In Japan today there is a popular term, “my boom” that means, “The thing I am currently obsessed with.”  Although the restaurant is currently obsessed with noodles and fresh ingredients "my boom" is the daughter and the husband with whom I share this meal.  My boom is not transient but rooted in my enduring joy in belonging to these two and they to me.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Teaching March 4, 2011

Today, I worked with middle and high school teachers watching them decide how to get better.  There is agony over the books to select, the roots to teach, the flexibility of credits we can offer, the content of the work for international students.  Every heart is leaning towards the students and hoping to find the better answer for this kid or that one.  It is glorious and frustrating, pushing each other to go beyond bias and opinion to consensus.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Patience March 3, 2011

Morning is freezing but the sun is bright.  Icicles point dagger like at the snow bank below and I am drawn out into this white wonder.  Being seven is to burn with curiosity for life.  What if I could hold that icicle and lick it Popsicle like?  What if I could catch the diamond sparkles in the snow?  Suddenly, I open my mouth and lick the frost from the pipe railing on the back step.  Could that feather pattern imprint upon my tongue?  The pipe, frozen by days of bitter cold, grips my tongue and holds on tight.  Panicked, I pull back and find the searing pain in my mouth, the tears and wails go up to call for help.  A thin pink film of human tongue clings to the pipe and the lesson lasts a lifetime.  “Be patient with the cold” Dad says, “and keep your tongue right there until the heat in your tongue let’s you go.”  The will to hold on past that moment when fear or anger takes the lead is patience.  “Keep your tongue on the pipe” is another way of saying it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Raining Big on March 2, 2011

The diameter of the raindrops reached one centimeter this morning on the way to school.  "It is raining big," observed my international student friend.  Every moment is a lesson so we begin gently with "Here we usually say it is raining hard".  He repeats and I repeat and the word hard begins to work on me.  We talk of the way that "huh" sound comes from the belly.  Today, the lesson is hard for even his core muscles hurt from the work out yesterday at track and field practice.  Lovely to think of this fifteen year old boy so far from home taking on "hard".  It comes to him in rain, in school, in body and in brain but he does not despair.  Instead he sheds sunshine in my car and laughs at his mistakes joking his way towards understanding.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March 1, 2011

Sixteen years ago today, the phone call yanked me out of bed at 1:20 in the morning and took me rushing down the hallway to receive the news that my mother died.  Moments before, as I lay waiting for this call, a jolt coursed through my body and I felt numb.  Somehow my brother’s call was simply the confirmation.  The work of living shifts in that moment.  Motherless, facing the world is difficult in a new way.  It is the orphaning, the loss of the one who held my life in the center of her love.  No more life in the tired body, no smile on her aged face and no more comfort in the smell and sound of her.    The last moments of the last days fill the mind and stay fixed there for decades.  The Ottawa cold when I left her side is clear today and the long red coat I wore are strangely present, today, in this dying winter.  I sent her a pot of spring bulbs two weeks before and arrived in Ontario to find them still in bloom still declaring the springtime to come so soon for Mom.  Now, the daffodils and tulips the hyacinth and primrose take me to that room and that good-bye.  But hope is what they tell and winter death is done.