When I glanced at incoming emails quickly yesterday during snack, I stumbled upon one I never expected and was heartbroken to receive. It was an email from the parent of a student in my Kindergarten class who was absent that day. I opened it expecting to read that he was sick again, or had a doctor’s appointment they had forgotten to tell me about. Instead, it was a message letting me know that they had enrolled their son in a private school beginning next week and that Wednesday would be his last day with us.
I adore this young man. I love them all, but this one is special. Have you ever had one of those? He has an old soul, and we connected on day one when we first met. We’ve written books together, read books together, and more importantly, discovered birds together. He’s a city kid and arrived on my “doorstep” not knowing the name of a single bird. Now he climbs up into our bird window, snuggles into the pillows, and straps on a pair of binoculars. Not the lightweight plastic children’s play variety, but heavy professional grade binoculars. The real deal. He’ll flip through the pages of our Sibley’s all day, if I let him. He let’s me know when a cardinal is nearby, when a bluejay has scared the other birds away, or when Mr. Bushytail is up to his old tricks and stealing the bird seed. When I need help filling the multiple feeders at our classroom feeder station, he’s the first to volunteer. I even taught him how to pish, a technique birders use to attract small birds so you can get a better look. When we go on class woods walks, you’d often find him repeatedly making the pish pish pish sound to bring the chickadees in closer.
Now my heart is broken, and I’m losing my bird buddy.
Good bye, sweet boy. I hope you’ll continue to love nature, birds, and become a rock star pisher.
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 each Tuesday and, starting next week, every day in March. Won’t you join us?