Thursday, May 29, 2008

Take Joy, Make Joy

I have a writer friend in Norway who inspires me every day with her unique perspectives on life and God. This morning she wrote in her blog about how Norwegians use the word “joy” as a verb. In her native tongue, “joy” means “to look forward to.” For her, to look forward to a new day fills her with joy. When she writes “Jeg gleder meg til hver ny dag,” it translates literally to “I am joying myself” each new day, but in English, we would say that she is looking forward to every new day

I think Britt-Arnild’s way of expressing anticipation as joy is pretty cool. As I read her meditation today I thought about the things we anticipate in life. For our students, right now, it is the end of the school year. OK, who am I kidding? The teachers are anticipating this joyfully as well =) Truth is, most of us look forward to summertime for many reasons. I enjoy the longer daylight hours, the warmer weather, the brilliant blue skies, the more relaxed rhythms and the (dare I say it) silence of a summer work day. In every sense of the word, I am longing for summer vacation.

And yet, as my friend says, “Every day is a gift from God.” It doesn’t need to be a perfect summer day for us to take joy in the hours we’re given. If we anticipate good things, are they not more likely to come our way? If we wake each morning intentionally looking forward to joy, it seems to me it is bound to be there. If our anticipation is a joyful one at the outset, the tone for the rest of our day is already determined.

So, what joy will you find in the days ahead of you? May you always say “Jeg gleder meg til hver ny dag.”

Photos: Flowers in the gardens at school contribute to the joying of the day. All taken with my new Olympus camera!

Monday, May 26, 2008

A Flurry of Birds

Yesterday morning, I woke up early and went outside to watch the birds. This is a rare opportunity for me, as I don't have a great backyard the way my parents do. I sat on the patio and reveled in the cacophony of bird song that surrounded me. I had my camera in hand, ready to capture as many birds as I could.

I had been watching an indigo bunting flit back and forth in the front yard the day before, but while I was sitting in the back yard, it suddenly appeared. I watched the male bluebird go in and out of the house feeding his mate. I was buzzed by a couple of hummingbirds, I saw both downy and hairy woodpeckers and countless others previously mentioned (yesterday).

What a great way to ease into the day! I'm not sure I'd ever get off to work if I could strart every day this way!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Playing Catch Up

I've been so busy the past week or so that I didn't have time to blog. Every night last week I had a meeting of some kind. Board meeting, Red Sox game (!), personnel meeting (we hired a new math teacher), Parent Appreciation dinner, Science Fair, etc. It was exhausting, although very productive, and often fun. The days were no less challenging. Anyone who teaches knows what the last couple weeks of school are like. Kids are restless, teachers are near the end of their rope. Add in a full moon (the "Flower" moon), and you have a recipe for disaster. Except it wasn't really a disaster. Just a huge test of patience.

The baby robins are thriving. They are covered with feathers now, so much that they blend right in with their nest and I can't get any good pictures of them as there is no contrast between them, the nest and the grid I have to shoot through. The goslings are at least twice the size they were the week before. They've joined up with two other geese families and are systematically working throught the yards in the neighborhood around the school. Every morning on my way to work, I find them in a different front yard, gobbling up whatever it is they are finding there. Always, at any given moment, two adults are standing guard along the sidewalk.

Tuesday night my sister and her family took me to the Red Sox game for my birthday. We were right behind home plate...a place I haven't sat for many years (back when seats were $10 instead of $50...). We had a great time watching the Sox win (although it wasn't as exciting as the night before when John Lester pitched a no hitter). I sat there looking around the park at all the different places I've been there. I think I've probably sat in every single section at least once, except for the newer seats on top of the Green Monster (left field) and in the luxury boxes above home plate (although I've been inside once, on a tour). I love Fenway Park! It holds a lot of good memories for me...

Now, I'm up in Maine at my parents' for a couple of days. They've lived here for 5 years, now, and have worked hard to make their yard a magnet for birds. This year, they have more birds than I've ever seen before: indigo buntings, bluebirds (They come for worms when my mom whistles!), Baltimore orioles, goldfinches, purple finches, robins, mourning doves, meadow larks, blue jays, ruby throated humming birds, several kinds of sparrows, tree swallows, and more...all letting us know through their various songs and continued presence how much they enjoy and appreciated this haven.

Photos: Baltimore Oriole outside my parents' sunroom; Canada goose and goslings feeding in the school neighborhood; Jonathan Papelbon strikes out the last batter to win the game; male bluebird eating mealworms after my mom has whistled for him.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Baby, Baby!

We now have three baby robins in the nest precariously perched on a support beam of our fire escape. One of our long-time teachers told me this is the first time in her years here that eggs have hatched from this spot, despite the numerous times robins have attempted it. We are very excited to have this up close and personal opportunity to watch these babies grow.

Mid-morning, I was giving a test in my classroom when I looked out the window and saw two Canadian geese and four goslings waddling down the driveway from the road! About thirty kids were outside playing at the time, and I was worried they'd take after the geese and chase them back into the street the way the 6th grade boys did the last time the turkeys made an appearance. Luckily, the kids were 3, 4, and 5 year olds and were quite obedient and just watched as the geese made their way across the parking lot and onto the playground and, finally, into the woods.

We think we are lucky to have so much nature around us, even though we are only about 7 miles out of Boston. We have wetlands and woods on three sides of us, so there are many birds and animals that come and go from time to time. It's a real treat for our students, who are mostly from the city.

Photos: Mother robin sitting on her nest this morning; the geese and goslings making their way to the woods; the driveway the geese came down (the bright spot behind the tree).

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Eggs Hatched!

I was so pleased this morning to hear from a couple of students that two of the three robin eggs had hatched over the weekend, or maybe even early today. I was concerned that they might not hatch because every time I checked last week, the mother was not on the nest. I was worried she wasn't spending enough time on it, or had even abandoned it.

Not to worry. Two tiny babies could be seen through the fire escape slats. The mother did a bit of house cleaning and shoved the shells out of the nest, one of them hitting a student on the head!

We have a sign on the door by the nest to leave the birds in peace, but there are a lot of curious students wanting to see the babies. Oh, and one curious blogger principal =)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

More beautiful flowering trees

Friday, before going home from school, I decided to drive over to Lake Quano- powitt to see what there was to see there. I got an eyeful, let me tell you! Dozens of amazingly beautiful flowering trees!

Most of these were in the two cemeteries bordering the lake, and it was drizzling slightly, so the contrasts were brighter than usual. I love this time of year!

Flowering Appreciation

Thursday was Teacher Appreciation Day for our conference (school district). Our superintendent invited us all to Tower Hill Botanical Gardens in Boylston, MA for a luncheon. I've been wanting to go here for awhile, so was glad when I got the invitation.

I drove out to my sister's school to pick her up so we could go together. We arrived early and wandered the grounds for an hour or so. It's a little early for a lot of the flowers, but there were enough to appreciate and enjoy.

I'm thinking I'll be going back, now that I've made my first visit =)

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Beautiful flowering trees

I had some time to kill this morning (I had to meet someone but was about 20 minutes ahead of schedule) so I took a drive through the cemetery where my grandparents are buried. It had been raining fairly heavily just prior to my arrival, so everything looked so pretty and fresh. The flowering trees were out in full-force, so I took some pictures.

This is a favorite cemetery of mine. I wrote about it a couple years ago here. This time, I was just appreciating the beautiful trees.