Take Flight! #SOLSC #SOL21

Guess what? Tomorrow is Thursday, April 1st! As the 2021 SOLC comes to an end, National Poetry Month begins and that means another daily writing and sharing challenge for me. I know it seems like a lot to commit to another daily writing commitment, but as a teacher of writers, I look at it as just a genre shift. This time it will be a poem a day.

But what will my theme be this year? Three years ago, my first year participating, it was all things vernal pool-related. The next year, I teamed up with several Poetry Friday pals and we used “Playing with Poetry” as our theme, using tools such as Haiku and Metaphor Dice, magnetic poetry, paint color names, and nail polish colors for inspiration. Last year my theme was Thoreauly Inspired.  Each day during the month of April, I wrote a poem inspired by a word or phrase mined from the pages of Henry David Thoreau’s jewel-laden journals. Onto this year. I love birds. No, let me rephrase that. I’m obsessed with birds, so bird-related poems it will be — feathers, nests, eggs, wings, calls and songs…

Thanks for wondering and wandering a bit with me today and every day this month. A huge thank you 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 day during March and each Tuesday throughout the year! Many thanks to all the Slicers who stopped to read and “like” or comment on my stories. I have so enjoyed yours! Some of you I will see tomorrow for the launch of #NationalPoetryMonth and my #AvianAllusions daily poem project, and for the rest of you, I hope to see you back here in a week. Be safe. Be well.

The Loneliest Year #SOLSC #SOL21

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.

Today I Took a Walk, Part 2 #SOLSC #SOL21

Helping someone break into their own house was not on our Saturday to-do list!

As we neared the end of the trail, and began the short walk back to our car, we saw a puzzling sight.

A man appeared to be entering a second floor window from a ladder. He was half in and half out. My husband immediately said, “Let’s offer to help!” I suggested to watch for a minute to assess the situation.

The man began yelling down to his wife who was attempting to hold the ladder steady down below. I say attempting because she wasn’t doing a very good job of it. He was lucky he didn’t end up in the bushes! My husband approached and offered his assistance. The wife explained that they were locked out of the house. He had been working on a car in the driveway and she had dashed out to tell him something, and somehow the door locked behind her. Neither had keys or a cellphone. All doors were locked and all windows closed, apart from the bedroom window he was attempting to climb through. The trouble was he couldn’t swing his leg over the sill and he said it was too far to drop into head first. The wife had already brought him a light shorter ladder and passed that up. He set that up just inside the window, but still couldn’t figure out how to use it to get in.

My husband, who has a bit of MacGyver in him, asked if he could look in the open garage to see if there was anything that might be useful. He came back with a 2×4, which he passed up to the man. “Brilliant idea!” the man shouted down to my husband. He pushed the plank in through the window onto one of the steps of the ladder inside, and rested the other end on the window sill. This gave the man something to hold on to and more stability. In he went, and in just a few minutes he appeared at the front door, keys in hand. He and his wife thanked us and off we went.

That was quite a hike!

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.

Today I Took A Walk, Part 1 #SOLSC #SOL21

Some days Slices, or small moment stories, are handed to us on a silver platter. Yesterday was one of those days. After errands and household chores, a stunner of an early spring day called to us for a walk. Little did we know what lay in store for us.

Spring has most certainly come to Moore’s Swamp in Concord, Massachusetts. Henry David Thoreau visited Moore’s often, as do I, and wrote about it in his journal. Click here to listen.

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.

Can it be Mandarin Orange Chicken Night? #SOLSC #SOL21

This is going to sound really strange, but I love the last Friday night of every month. Seriously, don’t laugh. Promise?

I can’t for the life of me remember how this began, but the last Friday of every month is Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken night in our house. It’s a pandemic thing, I guess. Have you ever tried it? If you listen to the Inside Trader Joe’s podcast, you’ll know that it’s one of their top-selling items. Quite frankly, it’s addictive. It’s also not the healthiest thing on the planet. Once a month makes it a treat. A frozen dinner from TJ’s is a treat? Just try it. You’ll see. A little sweet, a little savory, crunchy, chewy, and all in under 30 minutes.

So on Thursday afternoon, on our way home after a long, stress-filled day, when my husband asked if tonight could be Mandarin Orange Chicken night, you can guess what my response was.

Where are my people? Devotees of Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken unite!

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.

Lovely leaf litter #SOLSC #SOL21 #PoetryFriday

Happy final Friday of the 2021 Slice of Life Challenge at Two Writing Teachers AND Poetry Friday, all! I’m slicing up a bit of poetry. Susan Bruck is hosting this week’s gathering on her blog, Soul Blossom Living.  Won’t you join us there as well? Slicing poetry on Fridays during the SOLC is a great way to flex those writing muscles. If you are ever wondering where to find the weekly host of Poetry Friday, you’ll find a list of hosts and their blog links here.

Yesterday, after arriving home from school, I took a few minutes to wander around our yard. This may sound surprising, but I don’t do that very often during the week. Usually I am so tired that I grab the mail out of the mailbox and head indoors, lunch and dinner prep waiting in the kitchen for me. Something was different about yesterday afternoon, though. It was the warmest it has been so far — nearing 70 — and I just wasn’t ready to go indoors. I’m so glad I wandered a bit because I stumbled upon some early spring loveliness peeking out through the leaf litter that has protected our garden beds all winter.

And lastly, before I go, I wanted to share my National Poetry Month project for 2021!

Every day during the month of April I will be sharing either a brand new poem or a tweaked draft of one of my existing bird-related poems. I find birds to be fascinating creatures — their appearance, behaviors, calls and songs, and unique nests. I may even have assistance from my remote Kindergarten ornithologists along the way. 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. And thanks to Susan for hosting this poetic side of this week’s double celebration! Happy Friday, all!

Ice Cream in the age of COVID #SOLSC #SOL21

“How about we go get an ice cream after dinner?” You don’t have to ask my husband that question twice.

It was still in the 60s by the time we finished eating around 6:30 pm, so we made a move for the car. “Wait a minute,” I said. “We better check and see who is open. I quickly Googled the closest ice cream shop, Reasons To Be Cheerful. It’s about 10 minutes away. Yes, they were open until 7:00 pm. We’d have time. “And I better see if you have to order online.” No, the website said orders could be taken at their new window. No inside customers yet. “What about paying?” Credit cards, but no cash. Got it.

I long for the days when you can just get up and go. Spontaneity isn’t a thing at the moment, but the Pretzel Chip ice cream still tastes good.

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.

If I hadn’t gone outside #SOLSC #SOL21

Have you ever thought about the impact of one small decision? Sometimes it’s a good thing, as I discovered yesterday. I don’t often leave my bubble — the empty classroom in my school that I teach remotely from — but I’m so glad I did. My intent was to fill the bird feeders at the feeder station outside my classroom while my students were in a remote Spanish class, but it turned out to be so much more.

If I hadn’t gone outside, I wouldn’t have heard a pileated woodpecker drumming in the distance.

If I hadn’t gone outside, I wouldn’t have felt the warm morning breeze on my skin.

If I hadn’t gone outside, I wouldn’t have heard laughter ringing out from the preschool playground.

If I hadn’t gone outside, I wouldn’t have felt the thawing, supple ground beneath my feet.

If I hadn’t gone outside, I wouldn’t have heard, through open windows, the sounds of in-person teachers and students teaching and learning together in community.

If I hadn’t gone outside, I wouldn’t have seen earth’s palette beginning to brighten, shifting from the drab winter collection to spring’s joyful hues.

If I hadn’t gone outside, I wouldn’t have felt as ready to take on another day in my lonely bubble.

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.

Hey, that’s us! #SOLSC #SOL21

“Hey, that’s us!”

“It sure is.”

I’m not quite sure why I had never shown it to them before. It’s been there since September, but this moment in March made me pause and think about what else I hadn’t shown them or told them about.

In September, when my in-person teaching colleagues began to put their re-envisioned rooms together, following strict guidance from the CDC and our state board of education, hallway bulletin boards went up, too. Now I don’t love hallway bulletin boards for lots of reasons. Mostly because I feel they are most often for adults, not students. I’m all about doing things for students. But this year my Kindergarten students aren’t in the building with me. They’ll never see their work displayed like their in-person classmates.

Nobody loves an empty bulletin board, so I covered it with fresh green paper and prettied up the edges with border, as you do. But what message could I put up? What images belong there?

And then it came to me.

Their images belong there. They deserve to be seen, to be known, to be valued. While they may not physically be here this year, they are members of this community of learners. I want their faces to become familiar, their smiles to be seen, their presence to be felt.

So last week, during a moment of remote silliness (silliness is required in remote teaching!), I told them I must be in the wrong room, because they were reading and writing like First Graders. I grabbed my laptop and took them with me out into the hallway. I told them I needed to check the sign outside my door to make sure it said, “Mrs. Wyman, Kindergarten.” The bulletin board came into view. “Hey, that’s us!” squealed one boy. “It sure is,” I replied.

I’m not quite sure why I had never shown it to them before. It’s been there since September, but this moment in March made me pause and think about what else I hadn’t shown them or told them about.

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.