Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sleep Young One, Sleep

As his plane sits on the tarmac, I imagine my youngest son shifting his weight on his seat, exhaling excess carbon dioxide with nostrils flaring, and rapping his on fingers on his arm rest.

Ryan’s destination is Barcelona but his journey has been temporarily hijacked by who knows what airline complication. Just the eight hour flight in the air requires a great amount of patience on his part. Since he was a young boy, being in the confines of a car, plane, bus, or train has made him uneasy; almost a bit claustrophobic.This delayed start is sure to be painful for him.

The mom in me can only hope he finds a way to sleep once airborne. Sleep will bring him the calm he needs to get through the ordeal of traveling, waiting, being delayed, and being cooped up in a small space. Sleep will bring his girlfriend relief as he ceases to fidget, sigh, and pace.

Travel well young son. Enjoy your time abroad. And let sleep find you when you feel angst.



Tuesday, October 19, 2010

His Eyes Lit Up

Today, I taught my class how to play a card game with pennies and nickels. It is a game that is part of our math program and one that often proves difficult for many first graders this time of year. Each player turns over a card with pictures of pennies and nickels on it. The players then count the money on their card and state the amount of money they have. Then the two students decide which of them has the most money and the one with the most cents takes both cards. For those of you who are older, it is the game of war but more politically correct.

I chose my student helpers to demonstrate how to play this game. When the game started one student was able to count the money with accuracy while the other student struggled. I helped the struggling student count the money for the first half dozen turns of the cards. The student who was less proficient was winning each round and as he won each round his eyes lit up, sparkled, and then shined. All of a sudden, he was counting the money all by himself! I stopped offering help as he counted the nickels by fives and then changed his counting to accommodate the pennies.

The entire class witnessed this student’s transformation as he struggled, tried, struggled, tried, and then met with success. His eyes and smile said it all. We felt his positive energy and cheered for him and his partner as she gracefully lost the game and applauded his success. I could not have asked for a better lesson in what perseverance looks like than what we all got to experience during that math lesson.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Summer Leads Us to Autumn…


The marking of summer’s past and autumn’s future is different for everyone. My classroom students think it is autumn as soon as they return to school. Labor Day seems to be significant for many as a time to put away summer clothes, especially the white ones. For me, summer is over when I take down my hanging planters, rake the first round of three major leaf drops, and help my husband haul in the docks placing them on the riverbank. Columbus Day weekend is the time we do these things thus autumn has arrived.

Autumn is a time that awakens my senses. Wood smoke and baked goods fill my nose with familiar smells that signify warmth and comfort.Crunching leaves under my feet and the call of the geese, landing in the bay to feed on wild rice before their long journey south, alert my ears. Trees display a palate of color rewarding my eyes each time I peer outside. The sky is the most beautiful light blue and the river complements it with a darker hue. I love autumn. It is my favorite season…until winter.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It Spoke to Me

Have you ever seen something and just had to have it? It is almost like it is having a conversation with you. “Take me, take me,” it whispers. Well that is what happened to me when I went to an outdoor art festival this summer. I was summoned by a photograph.

I had been up and down those sidewalks twice. Not one piece of art spoke to me. Well that is not really true. Another piece of art spoke to my husband and me but it was a thousand dollars and our wallets drowned out the whispers with, “No, No!: My husband and I went home disappointed. In the afternoon…we returned to look again. At the very last tent…there it was. I saw it from afar and the closer I got the more I was drawn to it. It beckoned me to get close, to look from all angles, to admire its simplicity and elegance at the same time.

I had to have that photo and knew exactly where I would place it in my home. The photographer laughed when he saw me. “That is the one, huh?” he said.

“It is talking to me, I replied. How much?”

I did not have enough cash. “Do you take credit of bank cards?” My husband had wandered off and there was no way I was going to let another customer walk off with my whispering photo.

I don’t have the machine, my wife does. She is in another tent up the road, he explained.”

“I am really honest. I am a teacher. Do you trust me to take it and go pay for it?” I was taking no chances.

“Well…usually I wouldn’t but…my wife is a teacher too…so okay…here is where you will find her.”

I sit here in my living room remembering where it came from and how it happens to be displayed above the fireplace for me to admire each morning as I have my coffee and prepare for another day. The whispering photo of a barn in an ice storm is where it belongs.