Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Desert Wildflowers · 365 Project

Desert Wildflowers by Rondi Aastrup · 365 Project

I went to the Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens this several weeks ago with my friend Jill and her two girls.  We had a great time.  We saw wildflowers, birds, animals, butterflies, and--of course--cactus!  I guess I didn't post the entry, though, because I just found it in my draft folder.  Enjoy the sights:

Come and Gone

Years ago, I wrote down a quote in my journal that said something like "Some people come into our lives and quickly go.  Some stay for awhile, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same."  I think it was one of those Flavia cards that were popular way back when, but I feel like I'm only just now experiencing it.  Truth is, I've been there before, but not recently.  It's a very bittersweet feeling...

Graduation weekend has come and gone...and so have the seniors.  Last year, I didn't know them well enough after only a year of mostly trying to figure everything else out.  But this year, it was rather overwhelming.  Some of them have confided so much in me this year.  I knew them pretty well by the end of the year.  They asked me to be one of the speakers for their weekend, and I was honored to do so, but that talk was the hardest I've ever given.  The weight of it was at times so heavy that I could hardly move.  It finally came together . . . about an hour before I had to give it.  Felt good, though.  Felt right.

There were a lot of hugs and tears after the Commencement.  Since I teach at a boarding school, some of the kids had been together 40 out of the past 48 months, 24/7.  The knowledge that that time was over was almost impossible for them to deal with.  They were glad to be graduating, but did not want to leave the security of their friends.  I went home and tried to digest it all, but there was too much.

It was my birthday, too, and the class gave me a dozen roses.  One of the first boys I met when I arrived on campus last year introduced me before I spoke.  He told the story of helping me to move into my apartment and there were seemingly endless boxes of books.  "What must this woman wear," he asked himself.  "She has no clothes, only books!"  Made me laugh, because the truth is I have a lot of books, but also clothes...

So now they're gone.  And I, too, will be gone for the summer (mostly).  When I come back, there will be others to step in and leave footprints on my heart.  Yet another reason I teach.........

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Best and Worst of Times

This is the moon of a few weeks ago...the biggest moon of the year (at least).  Doesn't look very big from this angle, but trust me, it was huge. It is rising over a neighborhood near my school.

Usually when there is a full moon, I brace myself for trouble at school.  The kids are squirrelly during the day, and usually something goes awry in the evening and wee sma's.  Didn't happen this time and I wondered when the shoe would drop.  Well, this past week is when.  With a week to go before their class trip and then graduation, seniors have decided to get the mischief out of their system before hand instead of afterwards (or not at all).  It's been a tough time.  And yet there have been moments.  Really good moments.  I guess you could say it's been one of those best of times, worst of times kind of weeks.  At times I felt very wise, at others, completely helpless.  It was a season of Light, it was a season of Darkness.  The spring of hope, the winter of despair.  One minute I felt we had everything before us, and the next there was nothing before us.  Sometimes I thought we were all going direct to heaven (figuratively speaking), but then, I knew we were all going direct the other way...(yes, a nod to Mr. Dickens).

There have been difficult discipline issues and it fell to me to be the bearer of news that was painful yet graceful.  And then the effort to make it OK, to help a reeling kids stay upright and not lash out.  In the middle of all that I was screaming (in my head) this is not supposed to be happening to me!  I left administration because of days like this!  And yet...I was glad to be the one, as it might have gone very badly otherwise.  What do you say when you know someone is hurting and they have acted out of that hurt--a hurt you know and understand yourself--and instead of being the voice of sympathy, you have to be the voice of reason?  I thought of my parents who sometimes said, while disciplining us as kids, "this hurts me more than it hurts you."  Yes...and I imagine that is how it is with God, too.  I do not envy Him.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

This is just to say

that I love the look of surprise
on the face of
my students
they discover
the beauty, the power, the passion
that is

But then there's the smile
of recognition
when one
meets a kindred spirit for the first time
as if they had always
been friends.
So sweet.  And so rare.

If you know William Carlos Williams, you probably know his amazing little poem "This is just to say."  We watched an enactment of that poem today in my AP Lit. class.  Most kids said "How is that poetry?"  Which was fine because it opened up discussion about what is art in the first place.  But one sat to the side and said nothing.  Just smiled that smile of recognition.  That, too, is why I teach.