Do You Know?

It’s a brief, simple statement followed by a question. “It is 11 o’clock. Do you know where your children are?” A police officer says it, looking directly into the camera.

It is a tradition recently revived in our city. I remember hearing it when I was in high school, but it was just a voice then. Something about seeing a different officer each evening, repeating this same statement and question feels important. My children are adults now, but I think of my elementary students and their middle school and high school siblings. I hope their parents are hearing the message and taking it to heart. There is too much violence and loss in our city. Too much crime that hurts our youth.

This public service announcement, in the face of it all, may be a small action. I hope it is big enough to save a child, a family.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Random Recent Events and Thoughts

Here are a few things that have been going on lately- couldn’t seem to decide what to write today, so I thought I would just do a list and see what popped up.

1. I didn’t want to see it, but today I saw the realtor’s sign in the yard at my mom’s house. All summer and into the fall, my sisters, brothers, and sisters-in-law worked to get the house ready. So many tears shed, so much laughter shared, so many memories sorted through…and now there’s a sign in the yard…

2. My baby will celebrate her 21st birthday in 10 days. I cannot believe it yet.

3. That same baby planned a surprise birthday dinner for me. She gave me a bouquet of roses. My month-old nephew was there, his first public outing. My brothers and sisters-in-law weren’t there, except for the selfies they sent showing them at the restaurant the night before- which to give them credit, was my actual birthday.

4. It’s Fall Break! Two weeks!

5. There was a morning rainbow, but I missed seeing it except in pictures on the news. This evening the weather forecaster announced there will be a blood moon visible early tomorrow morning. I won’t miss that.

6. My brother spent hours on Saturday installing a new disposal under my kitchen sink and replacing the ruined flooring where the old one had leaked. We went to lunch together. I loved that time together.

7. I opened windows to let the fresh fall air in, and our two cats jumped up into the window to enjoy it, batting at the tree leaves rustling in the breeze just out of their reach.

8. My sister and I went to the movie The Good Lie. What a powerful story!

9. Someone made a jealous remark. It hurts deeply.

10. Someone shared tears. Very unexpectedly. It was a holy moment. I was honored to be so trusted.

11. My sister is moving next week. I’ll be there for her.

12. Did I mention it’s Fall Break? Two weeks! Thank goodness!

Posted in random thoughts, SOLSC 2014 Weekly | 3 Comments

North Star

I step outside
My eyes are drawn up to the sky
Dark still, but clear
Bright stars scattered across
Guiding North Star
Shining brightest-
Constant, true

I needed to see that-
Hope gathered
Once again
Within me

Posted in poems, reflections | 8 Comments

An Angel Behind

A print of an old painting hangs on my wall. In the foreground, two children cross a rickety bridge. The big sister gently guides her little brother, her arm around his shoulder, her face turned toward him. If there were sound, I am sure it would be softly whispered words of encouragement. There is a little uncertainty in the boy’s expression, but still, there is a hint of a smile. Behind the children hovers an angel. She brings calm into the picture. Kindness beams from her face, and her hands reach protectively toward the children. Yet she allows the children to make their way on their own.

Who is that angel in your life?

(See the picture here.)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It’s Hot, It’s Humid

We have been blessed with mild weather this summer. Some have complained it hasn’t really been summer weather at all. The forecasters have speculated endlessly about when or if we were going to hit the 90 degree mark. So far we still haven’t. But the last few days it has been hot. It has been humid. Clouds hung in the sky all day, bursting into pouring rain, thunder and lightning in the evenings.

Even when shut inside with air conditioning, the slightest exertion makes you drip with sweat. Open the door and step outside and you smack into a wall of thick, oppressive air. The rain has made the lawn turn into a jungle of tall, tall grass, but you wilt at the mere thought of pushing the mower over it.

Open the car door and the heat billows out almost visibly. You crank up the air conditioner to its highest setting so you can endure the ride. Driving past open spaces, you see fog clinging to the ground. You get out of the car and your glasses fog up so you can’t see.

Do you feel it? It’s hot. It’s HUMID. I am longing for the crisp cool days of autumn!

Posted in SOLSC 2014 Weekly | 2 Comments

Back to School

I’m in the midst of the whirlwind first days of school. To make this back to school crazier than usual, we are starting the year with a sub principal and minus two sixth grade teachers- no subs! So I temporarily became a 6th grade teacher, which is making the whirlwind seem like a hurricane. Still, I had a nice moment this afternoon.

I used a short passage from The House on Mango Street as a mentor text for writing about “My Name.” After the lesson, R came to me with a smile. “I read some of the stories in that book,” she said. I told her I had just started reading it, and that I especially enjoyed how the author wrote about each member of the family having different hair. Her favorite, she told me, is the lady who had too many kids.

It was a tiny slice of life, but I was impressed once again with an idea I believe… students respond when they see themselves and their culture in literature. Also, when we use mentor texts as a matter of fact and often, exchanges like this one become an exchange between two readers- equal contributors to the conversation. It made me smile!

Posted in reflections, school | 8 Comments

No Poem…Yet

An owl perched serenely on
a telephone wire.

This is a line from what I wrote last Tuesday for Slice of Life.

I’d love to see where an entire poem about the owl would go… :) These are words from Paul in a comment on the post. Since I read the comments, I’ve been thinking about where it would go…

I saw that owl so briefly. I was driving down the road. When I saw it, at first I didn’t really believe it was an owl. But the silhouette was so distinctive, I was convinced. It was near dusk, but it was still light out, so I think the sighting was somewhat unusual. I saw it turn its head- a movement which could only have been made by an owl, not another bird. Did I see enough in that short moment to write an entire poem? Was I observant enough, writerly enough? What was it I saw in the owl that led me to describe it as serene?

I think about the associations that might influence my writing about the owl. I think about the owl as a symbol of wisdom. I picture it sitting there on the wire, unperturbed by the traffic rushing by. Was the owl I saw wise?

I have some owl objects in my house, mostly things that my husband collected. A brass bell, shaped like an owl, which oddly has little plastic googly eyes glued on it. A small gourd decorated as an owl. A wood carving. These bring to mind where we were and happy times when we got them. I remember a book we both read quite long ago,I Heard The Owl Call My Name. The book links the owl and death. In the book, a young man dies. I think about how my husband had that owl bell at his bedside when he was fighting cancer and how he, too, died too young. Was the owl I saw a harbinger of death?

I wonder, if a poem takes shape, will it be just the tiny moment in which I saw the owl, or will it continue in imagination to see the owl take flight?

So, I am lost in thought, maybe getting snippets of ideas, phrases that might be right, but
no poem…yet…

Posted in animals, memories, poems, reflections, Uncategorized | 7 Comments