Saturday, August 24, 2013

The viewfinder.

She knew to stop breathing
remain still
look left to right, top to bottom,
position the viewfinder.
The finite
that hint of color to mark the space
the day
the sentimentality of the minute
She liked him like this, unaware
and un-posed.
she hoped he would look up
and catch her looking at him. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

How did you change your world?

Years ago, as principal of a small middle school in the middle of nowhere, the staff and I came up with an idea to provide elective offerings without elective teachers. We had just lost all our elective teachers due to budget cuts.

(We had  woodshop, computers, home ec., band, but budget cuts had eliminated these.)

On Fridays, all teachers taught a class of their choice, a hobby, an interest, something they would do for fun...
and students could then take six various classes of their choice, or one class all day long!

So, we discussed the logistics and because nobody had time to actually sign everybody up and balance the numbers, etc.. we took our chances and announced that students, on the first day could "drop in" and audit any class before signing up for it/them for the rest of the quarter.

We told students that the passing bell was a strict five minutes; if they didn't get to class within five minutes, they would be assigned one!

All students stayed put in that first class, fascinated by the new routine. Many ended up in the "wrong" class but liked it enough to remain. All learned something new, exciting, invigorating.

Most importantly, teachers felt they had a day off!
Oh yes, they had students with them, all day long, and new materials to explore with them,new people to get used to. But they were doing what they would do with their "leisure" time, and sharing their love with children who had never learned to play chess, or make a bird house.

Fridays were the most popular days of the week. Even parents dropped in to learn to make pizza, plant a garden, learn to design and construct a leaded glass window, sing, dance, write plays, construct sets...

We had no additional money for this experiment.
We had no additional people except volunteers that teachers pulled in.
We had a need to expose students to many skills and interests just the way we were exposed to many skills and interests in our youth to find our way to happiness and success.
We defined success over and over again, in terms of emotional growth, intellectual pursuit, physical stamina and expression, artistic expression, practical skills...

Without these opportunities to explore, create, express, our spirits stop living. We develop a disquietude that doesn't leave us.

We live our lives in precise terms, worried about this and that, concerned with what we "need".
What if we redefine our needs?

(Erin, your conversation sparked this response!)
What if everyday becomes a discovery of what gives us joy?

What tune are you whistling?

Whenever you feel afraid, just whistle a happy tune...
so the song goes,
and so the mind accepts
as though to live happily is a choice one makes
by singing a happy tune.

What happens is not our choice
what blessings come our way are just chances
encounters of space and time outside our influence
and not much good our tune would do
to change a hurricane
or tornado.

The only tune to whistle is the other one, hi ho, hi ho, off to work we go....

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

It isn't even what I expect, but...

I want to be Julia Child when I cook.
And Hemingway when I write.
But in my kitchen, and at my desk, I am utterly alone with my hungers.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

By the water.

I stop at the end of the walk in front of the phone-camera
by the  man I've known for forty seven years and one month
weeks of worries
days of planning
hours of smells
demands, offerings
remembrances of slights
waves of grief
are exposed in each other's faces.

Sand and gravel between our toes
will be washed away with
the next wave
and the pounding sounds on the nearby rocks
will color this day with
visions of the infinite.

I mirror his smile.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

words are just pebbles

to mark the spot at the foothills
of our experience
the place
where heart stopped beating
and eyes caught a glimpse of the immensity of what we don't know.