Drawing the Line

BANG!!! The loud noise was a shock. It stood out in the already noisy cafeteria where fifth and sixth graders were having lunch. The source? A bag of chips forcefully popped open. It was a little hard to tell if the boy who did it acted on purpose because even he looked shocked. But soon there were more popping bags and lots of guilty laughter.

The atmosphere in the cafeteria this year has been more relaxed than in the past… a conscious decision to promote opportunity for conversation and social skills. Today it felt like the line between freedom and responsibility was blurry.

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Day after day
Sunset brings inspiration 
As if beauty 
Has been saved up
To soften the
Nearly every day, my sister-in-law takes a photo of the sunset… many times the image inspires a poem… Thanks, BAH

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Five Alive

He’s up, he’s down
He zooms around 

Walks in to his first day of school
Surrounded by family, bright smile 
Realizes they are leaving, becomes a whirling dervish
His outraged cries, shockingly loud, fill the air
He flails his arms and kicks the teacher trying to keep him in class
Big brother is called back in to stay for awhile
Calmed down, he discovers the classmate next to him speaks his language and makes a friend
The smile returns
He decides to stay… but

He’s up, he’s down 
He zooms around

Stay in his seat? No way!
Be quiet when there’s a friend to talk to? Of course not!
Walk down the hall when you can hop and bop? Why would you?
Just sing the ABCs when the music makes you want to dance? No! Get up out of that chair and dance!
Time to go home? Hug your teacher with abandon!

He’s up, he’s down 
He zooms around

He’s five alive!

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Will it matter?

Will it matter in a hundred years?
He often asked, in the face of

The question would make us pause 
And in the pause we could

Will it matter in a hundred years?
With that question we
set aside frustrations 
defused anger
let go of worry

Will it matter in a hundred years?
Will it matter?
Will it?

This poem is written in response to Amy Ludwig Vanderwater’s blog at the poem farm:http://www.poemfarm.amylv.com/2021/07/someone-said-someone-said.html?m=1

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4th of July on the Lake

Get the family on the boat
It’s the 4th of July on the lake

Pull away from the dock and
Join the boat parade heading for the fireworks
It’s the 4th of July on the lake

Little sis, feet in tiny pink crocs and tiny pink headphones protecting her ears
Ba-boom, ba-boom she sings out over and over
As fireworks blast from yards along the shore
Where decks are festooned in red, white, and blue
It’s the 4th of July on the lake

Big brother concentrates on his neon creation
Linking together glowing rings to stretch from head to toe
Until he looks like a miniature living firework
It’s the 4th of July on the lake

The boat is anchored and we sing along, God Bless the USA
Bright colors burst into the sky and we enjoy the show
Celebrating with families all around us
Our country that we love 
It’s the 4th of July on the lake

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The Songs Are Dying

A sad story has been in the news in Indiana. Birds are mysteriously dying. Songbirds. Robins, blue jays, grackles, starlings, and cardinals. First it happened in 5 counties, then 15, now it is up to 40. The birds have neurological symptoms of illness and swollen, crusty eyes. Tests are negative for Avian Flu and West Nile Virus. Research is underway to identify the cause.

Everyone has been advised to take bird feeders down. Social distancing for birds.

Since Spring this year, I have enjoyed birdsong in the mornings. Even as these reports began, I still have been hearing birds every morning. I took my two bird feeders down, though. It seemed, as it often does when you hear something on the news, it’s not going to happen to me.

First thing this morning my daughter texted: We have dead birds all over the sidewalks in our apartment complex.

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I Read a Book!

If you know me at all, you would wonder why the statement “I read a book” would come with an exclamation mark. My family knows me as a reader, my friends know me as a reader, my colleagues know me as a reader. Even my students know I love reading. But as I’ve heard from others, during the pandemic, I have had long periods where I just didn’t read much. Not only that, but I didn’t have the same passion, the same “just one more chapter” feeling that has kept me reading late into the night so many times. I wasn’t reading with moments of laughing out loud or tearing up or thinking “what a great sentence, I need to write that down.”

This past week, though, “I read a book!” Consumed it in two days. Read into the wee hours, until I could not keep my eyes open another minute. I read a book, and I truly enjoyed the reading. I am going to share the book and some things I liked about it, but really the point here is more about the joy of reading. How sad it is to lose it, even for just awhile. The thrill and the deep satisfaction of experiencing it.

The book I just finished reading is Sobremesa: A Memoir of Food and Love in Thirteen Courses by Josephine Caminos Oria. It is a story filled with the crazy complications and simple love found in family life- including family ghosts. It is a fascinating glimpse into cultures- Argentine and the culinary world. Translanguaging throughout introduces many delightful Spanish sayings. (I think if I retain even a couple, using them would greatly increase my fluency in Spanish!) Some wonderful recipes are included, and the usual “number of servings” feature has a twist that is so much fun to read. The author’s realizations about family, love, and life are unique, yet familiar, inspiring reflection and connections to your own as you read.

I hope you, too, will have a reading experience that makes you exclaim, “I read a book!” When you do, be sure to share in a Slice!

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Grandma’s Hydrangeas

We called them
Although they 
In summertime 

White circles
On the green 
In Grandma’s yard

So tempting 
To pick
And toss them
But we
Just never dared

Grandma’s love
For them
And for us
Than temptation  

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I’ve been on vacation this week… on a trip to the beach. Sunshine. Sand. Waves. Dolphins. Balcony overlooking it all. Quiet sunrises. Glorious sunsets.

Well, really, I’ve been at school and home as usual. But my daughter and her hubby have been on their long awaited dream vacation. And the dream came true with perfect weather. With the condo that was as nice as advertised.

It has made me so happy to see them so happy. Beaming in the pictures they’ve sent. I’ve been on vacation this week…

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Waking Up Is Hard To Do

A regrettable habit has crept into my morning routine. The snooze alarm. Like habits do, it has become entrenched and hard to break. I can analyze it and see some factors that led to it. I can think of so many benefits if breaking it. But lately, I can’t seem to resist the urge to sleep in “just a few more minutes.”

OK, the snooze alarm just went off (again) so I must wrap this up and get on with the day! Maybe a morning writing habit can replace the snooze.

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