Changes, End of Terms–a Teacher’s Heart

img_2340    As this Fall term winds down at the college, I admit to feeling sad. Such big-hearted students! But it’s time for the term to end and all of us to move on, and I know that.   Still, as Robert Frost asks in “Reluctance”

Ah, when to the heart of man 
Was it ever less than a treason 
To go with the drift of things, 
To yield with a grace to reason, 
And bow and accept the end 
Of a love or a season?

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/53085/reluctance

Still, I have never yielded changes with grace but rather with sadness. As someone who has experienced a lot of trauma and loss, I believe that is normal.  Yet I know moving on is good, and I will embrace having some time to do more writing, more exercising, etc. until the spring term starts.

It’s still hard for THESE students won’t be in my class anymore, and I truly like them.  I am blessed to be in a career I have long loved; I love literacy and people.

Thanks for reading, and may all your changes be graceful ones.

 

 

 

 

 

Nature and Grief

(From my phone)  And I’m here, still.

...I’m trying hard to keep it together. My husband is pulling me off the ceiling sometimes, as I’m finding I’m having chest pains and horrible urges to sob loudly.

When I see her, I will be cheerful and not dwell on the fact that she is most likely dying and going to die an awful death. But in my alone moments, I don’t handle things so well.

Took a short nature walk today and it really helped. Saw a flying squirrel and an ornate box turtle. The poor turtle was stuck between a rock and a hard place, literally, but got free. The flying squirrel froze when it saw a human. I tried to be still, to disturb it as little as possible.

The walking paths were snow-covered, which is surprising since it is still autumn.

Sitting at home, done with grading, waiting for night to fall. Flashes of red from outside. Three male and three female cardinals picking seeds up from the bush in back of the house. Those brief flashes of red are so beautiful and so life affirming somehow.

I stand up to look outside, and they fly away. They must have been able to sense my presence, perhaps see my shadow.

And it helps. And the sunset helps. And the trees and the birds and friends and loved ones help.

But it is impossible to inoculate yourself from grief. At least I think so, if you are a loving person, the loss of a loved one will hurt greatly.

About 13 to 14 years ago, my family and I suffered the loss of many. Some died from a freak set of accidents, some from cancer, some from old age, etc. But it was so many in a short period of time that I was truly overwhelmed and didn’t get a chance to really mourn the loss of most of them individually.

Of these nine losses, the loss of my best friend, Susan, my godmother, and my mother hurt the most. The others I feel bad that I have not mourned them individually; it was like a collective grief.

So I know I’m going to face a lot of pain, and if you love someone, that’s to be expected.

But not something to be looked forward to.

It’s the price of loving people and getting older, surely.

The cardinals have returned, cautiously picking out seeds from the bush behind the house.

 

And I’m here, still.

img_2501img_2503img_2502img_2496img_2483

Changing Seasons Type of Day

img_2303  Trying this blog entry from my cell phone–that’s risky! I am outside and just do not want to go INSIDE and log onto a computer… 

What an odd day, a day mixed with joy and sadness. 630 AM—still dark—road closed ten seconds before the intersection where I turn to get to work and a truck started pouring hot tar in two lanes. Semi ahead of me kept knocking down tree branches (too big for the small amount of the lane still open) and construction cones. I had to get out of the car in the dark to move the cones, but finally a construction worker let me through.

11 hours of work (part time !) Some middle school kids on the college campus today. So cute. So loud. Sipping their pumpkin spice sugared drinks waiting for the presentation they were here for.

Some students asked if I could teach them next term.

Drove home in the dark.

Sad loved one’s health news.

Two more poetry rejections.

Glad I’m part time. This won’t happen often. To work in the dark. Home in the dark.

Glad for modern medicine which may help family member.

And frogs! I’m sitting outside in the dark with my trusty tennis racquet (you know… in case of critters) and with a spotlight hearing LOUD FROGS. It’s that warm now!?!??!! Wind blowing off so many remaining leaves.

Love hearing those frogs. Thought I’d not hear them for months, until spring.

Truly a changing season type of day.

(Picture taken with my little camera phone while sitting in the dark, soft rain… back flashlight light on the bush. I’m such an adventurer.)

Thanks for reading; may your seasonal changing days change well, with kindness and hope.

On Crickets and a Cricket “Imagist” Poem

cricket Ten plus years ago, we bought our first home.  On one of our first nights in our home, we heard a chirping chirping sound that just wouldn’t stop.  Thinking it was a fire alarm, we looked everywhere and finally found the source of the loud chirping: the sounds were coming from our heating/ air conditioning vents.  Crickets!

There was no way to get deep into the vents to free the crickets, so we let them chirp, and they quieted down. Eager to learn more about the creatures creating this lovely sound, I found that in some legends, a cricket in the home is considered good luck.  That was great, since it was our first (and only) home.  I learned that some Native American tribes considered crickets a sign of good luck, and some considered crickets in the home a sign of bad luck.  I will ignore the bad luck predictions.

Last night, I was up late working on school work when I thought I heard a muffled fire alarm chirping.  And chirping.  And chirping.  I opened the window and heard many louder similar sounds, closed the window…and heard the sounds coming from near the window.  In a heat/air conditioning vent to be exact.

Ten years later, crickets welcoming me or complaining or just being.

I wrote a short poem years ago, an attempt at an imagist poem, about crickets:

chirping of crickets
continues under
the rails after
trains pass

They are tenacious!

They also signal a starting of the end of summer, and that’s something I look forward to usually; I have had enough of mosquitoes, excessive heat, and humidity.  I like cooler weather.

Yet I must admit I love the sunshine of summer as well.

 

Good thing I don’t control weather–I’d like the sunshine of summer and the coolness of autumn, please.

Thanks for reading, and here’s a few places to find more about these fascinating creatures:

https://goodlucksymbols.com/crickets/

http://www.native-languages.org/legends-cricket.htm

https://www.raandrade.com/superstitions-myths-legends-about-crickets/

 

Seeking the Mountains, Seeking the Stars

 

photo of galaxy

When I was a child, I was fortunate to live near a now rare Illinois prairie.  Oh, and a swamp at one end of the prairie, right before a suburban housing subdivision.

As I get older, I begin to understand how much that open space, those wildflowers, those butterflies, that swamp mist, those ancient swamp trees–what they all meant to me.  They are part of my very core, part of my poetry even when I am writing about teaching or abuse or anything. Why? This core of beauty and mystery provides strength, curiosity, and respect deep within, helping me find courage in this increasingly terrifying world.  I am deeply sensitive, deeply afraid of much, deeply observant.  Without this core, I think I would have become crushed as some family members have been–utterly broken down.

But mountains and a starry filled night sky have NOT been part of that core.  I live in an area with too many people, too much light pollution in order to see that starry night filled sky.  The few times I have seen such a sky I was overwhelmed and nearly had to squint–it was so much beauty at one time.  But those times have been few.

And living in the “Land of Lincoln” means flatness everywhere. Flat, flat, flat–which made for gorgeous sunrise and sunset viewing. But it’s all so open. I’d like to see mountains. Last time we drove to NC, I panicked in the mountains, but I feel I’m better able to handle all that too.

I am not an easy person to know, nor an easy person to live with, even for myself.  I am very high maintenance, very stressed, very much TOO MUCH.  But I have a talent for gratitude and do not take things for granted.

We are headed to a family reunion in the great Rocky Mountains tomorrow, and I am beyond excited. I am overwhelmed by the prospect of seeing stars, seeing mountains.

As to seeing family, that’s another long story.  (My family is a novel waiting to be written but too painful to write.)  I love my husband’s family dearly, and this will be a great gathering.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

scenic view of mountains during dawn

Thai Cave Rescue Update

cave                      This sure has touched my heart; wishing them all well.  I cannot imagine the courage it takes to do this type of rescue, nor the courage the boys need to survive.  More rains are coming, and the need to rescue the boys and their coach is urgent.

Being very claustrophobic and not liking the dark? I am imagining how difficult this would all be.

This is NOT the cave the boys are trapped in; it’s a photo used within the creative common license.  The actual cave is dark.

Live updates here: Thai Cave Rescue Updates

Welcome, Summer!

177672-Welcome-To-Summer   For those of you who like summer, enjoy!  Me? I get sick in heat and humidity and the skeeters LOVE ME… no matter what I do, I spend the summer bitten by mosquitoes.

But I very much enjoy the sunshine and interesting shadows.  Oh, and the summer clouds.  So interesting…and seeing bats drop out of trees and fly away, and seeing lightning bugs flash, flash, flash…and hearing birds.

I guess I love much about summer after all.

What’s your favorite season and why? Or what’s your favorite part of each season?

Winter: crisp stark beauties of snow, crisp clean air.  (But oh! The darkness really affects my mood.)

Spring: the returning light. The birds, the trees, the flowers.  The return of those great spring sounds.

Summer: sunshine and color.

Autumn: the colors of fall–those lovely gold and red leaves in sunshine.

Laura Lee