Night Visitors #SOL22

We’ve had lots of owl visitors the last couple of weeks, both Eastern Screech Owls and a pair of Great Horned Owls. This summer we heard Barred Owls calling to one another. We live right on a river, and have lots of dead trees nearby, so it’s a great spot for them. They bring us so much joy, and I think we appreciate them because they don’t visit as often as other birds. Our serendipitous nocturnal meetings inspired this poemish piece.

Cool night’s closed windows

Keep calls from reaching me

I brave evening’s air

Pull up the quilt

Cock my head

And wait

They’re back

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. And many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March.

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A tough slog #SOL22

Slog. It’s a word we don’t hear often. One definition is “a spell of difficult, tiring work.” That’s about the best way I can describe the beginning of this school year.

Our numbers are high and our Kindergarteners are young. Very young. Barely made the “five by September 1st cutoff” young. Sitting is hard. Listening is hard. Following directions is hard. Being together is hard. Is that a post-pandemic thing? I don’t think so, but who knows.

What I do know is I’m learning to teach again under more “normal” circumstances. Our rug is back. We sit on the floor together. Our desks are pushed together in pods. I read “real” books that aren’t projected on a screen. I make charts in front of students on the easel instead of reading Google slide after slide.

There’s so much good. Focusing on the good should help me survive the slog, right? I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. And many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March.

Missing, but not missed #SOL22

Air conditioners now removed, 

Windows fling open.

Midsummer’s heat retreats.

Sleep’s vanished silence returns.

Night’s hushed noise-makers 

Fill the void

Dawn’s calls and songs,

Lost to the cooling cacophony,

Rise again.

Note: Once again, Morgan Davis’ Slice — this time The Absence Of — inspired me to put pen to paper. This time, a poem-ish piece. I so missed the magical nighttime summer sounds drowned out by necessary air conditioning over the last 2+ weeks. Thanks for the inspiration, Morgan!

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. And many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March.

Old Me, Meet New Me #SOL22

There it was. All clean, waxed, polished (well, that might be pushing things a bit), and ready. Not ready for students but essentially ready for me.

But was I ready for it?

Usually, when I have a summer workshop to attend towards the end of the summer break, I’ll go in a little early and do some arranging for 30ish minutes or so. I might straighten the rug, set up my chair and easel, and move a few rolling storage units back into place. Just a few things to make me feel like I’ve started.

But apparently, that was the old me.

The new me arrived yesterday with 30 minutes to spare. I sauntered in, looked around, checked to make sure everything was there that should be, and sat on the rug. My dearly-missed rug, where my community of writers, readers, mathematicians, scientists, and sweet little humans will gather. Oh, how I’ve missed this rug since March 11, 2020, but now she’s back out of storage aired out, cleaned, and ready to host new friends.

The old me would have jumped up and gotten to work, but the new me hopped up, grabbed my bag, turned off the lights, and left. It can wait.

Note: Morgan Davis’ Slice from last week — This Used to Be…And Now — inspired me to think about a change in my own life. This seemed to fit. Thanks for the inspiration, Morgan! And keep the writing prompts and videos coming. Love them!

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. And many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March.

What were we thinking?! #SOL22

“We’d be happy to put your new kitchen island together. Don’t hire a carpenter!” My 87-year-old parents moved recently and desperately need more kitchen storage and counter space in their new place. The island kit had been on back order from Wayfair for quite a while and it had finally arrived!

What were we thinking?! The pieces were everywhere!

The hardware was everywhere!

And the tools were everywhere! Four hours, six minutes, and five broken screws later, we were almost there.

But it was 7:30 PM, our gas tank light had come on as we were parking, and home and dinner were 45 minutes away. Time to wrap things up for the day.

In my dreams, it’s all assembled and ready to put to use. Soon enough.

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. And many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March.

And Meet We Did #SOL22

It was as if we’d known each other for years, and just picked up where we left off. That’s how our small gathering of five Teach Write writing buddies went one week ago today. While it was our first time meeting “in person” (you can read about that in last week’s Slice here), it felt, and we laughed about this, as if we were just five good friends getting together for a few hours of fun. And honestly, that’s who we are, so no wonder. We ate, enjoyed ice cream, did a few touristy things (IYKYK), laughed, and got a little teary. The only thing we didn’t do was write. But that’s OK. We’ll do that together on ZOOM.

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. And many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March.

Time to Meet! #SOL22

Four years ago, I took a risk. A writing risk. I’d been blogging and sharing for just a year or two with the Two Writing Teachers “Slice of Life” and Poetry Friday communities for fun, but I felt ready to up my writing game with a class or coaching of some sort. I’m not even sure how I found it, but I signed up for the “Time to Write Workshop” in the then-new Teach Write community of writers.

Each week we gather together on ZOOM (we were pros before the pandemic hit!) to set goals and intentions for our time together, write alongside each other for close to an hour, and then celebrate and set our writing goals for the upcoming week. Many of us have been writing together for several years now. While members come and go, we’ve become a close-knit community. A family.

And now, It’s time to meet! This afternoon, in nearby Concord, MA, six members of our TTW family will be getting together for the afternoon to spend time together. In-person! No computer screens! While I am local, several will have found their way here from further afield — Cambodia, Canada, and New Jersey! We have rough plans, but who knows what will happen. Maybe we’ll even write together in-person.

Stay tuned!

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. And many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March.

We’ve been so careful #SOL22

We’ve been so careful

We’ve been so careful
Over two, long years
Masking every day, everywhere
Sanitizing raw skin day after day

Two years of teaching
Masked, distanced, careful
They dropped like flies
But we didn’t

Now, the lone shoppers with masks
Exercisers with masks
Outdoor diners with masks
Visitors with masks

Five days in
Still adjusting
Still so careful
COVID descends

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today. And many thanks to the crew at Two Writing Teachers, and the extended SOL community, for giving us the time, space, and encouragement to live the writerly life here every Tuesday throughout the year and daily during the month of March.

The Iris Garden #Pathways #NPM #NaPoWriMo #NationalPoetryMonth #PoetryFriday

Yeah! It’s Poetry Friday! Jone Rush Macculloch is our hostess for this the fifth and final Friday of National Poetry Month.

During the month of April, I will write or revisit poem-ish pieces inspired by my frequent walks in the natural world. Trails, paths, signs, and views always intrigue and inspire me. I have left my challenge open so that the poems may take any form — haiku, free verse, borrowed line, blackout — and who knows which direction they will go in or how often they will appear.

The Iris Garden

There is a rustic bridge, low arched
That spans a tiny shallow pool,
Whose waters when the ground is parched
Still keeps the neighboring meadow cool.
Here Nature gently seems to say,
“Now come, we welcome you to stay.”

So all throughout the heat of day,
Made joyous by the Summer’s Sun,
There plays a merry company;
From morning till the day is done
They nod and dance beneath the trees
As if they know their joy would please;

Gay butterflies and bees for hours
Will hover o’er a fairy sea
Whose very waves are made of flowers;
Who ever dreamed such shades could be?
Now watch their varied colors dance.
How many see you at a glance?

Rich purple, veined with orange light;
Pale blue, that vies with twilight’s hue;
Some, painted like the shades of night;
And others clear as morning’s dew!
While every where your eye may seek,
This living beauty seems to speak.

When summer sends her wondrous day
Of sweetness filled with leisure hours,
Come hasten to this spot and play
Amid the beckoning Iris Flowers,
N’er evening sends her dark’ning shade,
Or time shall bid the petals fade!

— Mildred Kennedy (1877-1960)

A peek at my process

Today I veer off course a bit with my NPM project. Four years ago, I wrote about a long-ago Japanese iris garden that haunts my dreams. (You can read about that here.) There have been a few very exciting developments since that post.

My parents, who are cleaning out before a major move, are finding all sorts of treasures, one of which is this sestain — The Iris Garden. It was written by my great-great aunt Mildred, who lived in the house with the Japanese iris garden as a child. I had shivers up my spine as I opened up the faded typing paper and realized the treasure I held in my hands. We don’t know if the poem was ever published anywhere, so this could very well be its debut. I can’t think of a better place.

They also found some amazing images of the garden captured on glass autochromes that we did not know existed. I had four of them digitized and am thrilled that now the garden of my dreams is beginning to come back to life again.

Unknown visitor to the garden.
My great uncle Gordon and great aunt Frances, who grew up in the home, dressed for visitors to the garden.

Now that I am in possession of such treasures, I’m torn about what to do with them to protect them. For now, I am basking in the excitement of paths lost to time having a rebirth of sorts.

And lastly…

Today it’s Karen Eastlund’s turn to add the penultimate line to the 2022 Kid Lit Progressive Poem on her blog, Karen’s Got a Blog. Participants borrowed lines from literature and songs. I was thrilled to provide line 19, which I borrowed from The Keeper of Wild Words. I hope you’ll join us to see how the poem finishes up tomorrow. Here’s the full itinerary for the poem.

2022 Progressive Poem Itinerary:

April 1 Irene at Live Your Poem
2 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
3 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
4 Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading
5 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
6 Linda at A Word Edgewise
7 Kim Johnson at Common Threads
8 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
9 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
10 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
11 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
12 Jone at Jone Rush MacCulloch
13 Karin Fisher-Golton at Still in Awe
14 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
15 Carol Labuzzetta @ The Apples in my Orchard
16 Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
17 Ruth at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken Town
18 Patricia at Reverie
19 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Kevin at Dog Trax
22 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
23 Leigh Anne at A Day in the Life
24 Marcie Atkins
25 Marilyn Garcia
26 JoAnn Early Macken
27 Janice at Salt City Verse
28 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
29 Karen Eastlund at Karen’s Got a Blog
30 Michelle Kogan Painting, Illustration, & Writing

Earth Day #Pathways #NPM #NaPoWriMo #NationalPoetryMonth #PoetryFriday

It’s Poetry Friday! Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche is our hostess for this the fourth Friday of National Poetry Month. She’s also got the latest line in our KidLit Progressive Poem, which is heading into the final week.

But first…it’s Earth Day! My all-time favorite Earth Day poem for students is from our friend, Mary Lee Hahn. I’ll be sharing it with my Kindergarten poets next week when we return from April Vacation.

And…

During the month of April, I will write or revisit poem-ish pieces inspired by my frequent walks in the natural world. Trails, paths, signs, and views always intrigue and inspire me. I have left my challenge open so that the poems may take any form — haiku, free verse, borrowed line, blackout — and who knows which direction they will go in or how often they will appear.

Open Window

Open window
Uniting inside and out
 
Flowing rivers soothe restless sleepers
Dawn’s chorus gently nudging them awake
Joyful swing set squeals
Reminding busy adults to play
Mulch’s perfume drifts in
Signaling rebirth of the earth
Green glimpses send hope to the soul
 
At last the window is open

A peek at my process

Today’s poem isn’t so much about a walk, but letting nature indoors. At long last we are finally able to leave our windows open in the evening. The rushing Assabet River lulls us to sleep and joins with the dawn chorus to awaken us.

And lastly…

This month, members of the Poetry Friday family are participating in the 10th annual Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem originally organized by author/poet, Irene Latham. Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche took over two years ago as the organizer. Many members of the #PoetryFriday family have signed up to provide a line for the 2022 poem. Today, in addition to hosting, PF, Margaret takes the wheel with the Progressive Poem. Participants are borrowing lines from literature and songs. I was thrilled to provide line 19, which I borrowed from The Keeper of Wild Words. I hope you’ll join us to see how the poem winds its way home. Here’s the full itinerary for the poem.

2022 Progressive Poem Itinerary:

April 1 Irene at Live Your Poem
2 Donna Smith at Mainly Write
3 Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
4 Mary Lee at A(nother) Year of Reading
5 Buffy at Buffy Silverman
6 Linda at A Word Edgewise
7 Kim Johnson at Common Threads
8 Rose Cappelli at Imagine the Possibilities
9 Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link
10 Linda Baie at Teacher Dance
11 Janet Fagel at Reflections on the Teche
12 Jone at Jone Rush MacCulloch
13 Karin Fisher-Golton at Still in Awe
14 Denise Krebs at Dare to Care
15 Carol Labuzzetta @ The Apples in my Orchard
16 Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe
17 Ruth at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken Town
18 Patricia at Reverie
19 Christie at Wondering and Wandering
20 Robyn Hood Black at Life on the Deckle Edge
21 Kevin at Dog Trax
22 Margaret at Reflections on the Teche
23 Leigh Anne at A Day in the Life
24 Marcie Atkins
25 Marilyn Garcia
26 JoAnn Early Macken
27 Janice at Salt City Verse
28 Tabatha at The Opposite of Indifference
29 Karen Eastlund at Karen’s Got a Blog
30 Michelle Kogan Painting, Illustration, & Writing