The chance to work with colleagues who genuinely care about students and teaching
The opportunity to work with students who are eager to learn and think critically
Virtual friends whose creativity, passion, and kindness bring blessings of beauty, laughter, and new knowledge
A long life that has brought me to an old house in the northlands where I can marvel at the beauty of tiny crystals and wonder how many billions it takes to blanket the earth for hundreds of square miles under three feet of snow
And the health and strength to shovel
PS – If you’re curious to know how my car got the name “White Pony,” here are some links to older posts that tell pieces of the story:
Somedays there are too many tasks
demanding decisions and immediate attention
Which one’s a priority and which ones get an extension?
Rather than agonizing over choosing
I decide it may be wiser to avoid choices that are confusing
grabbing my camera and going for a walk instead
a great way to clear my heart and my head
Even when it’s cloudy now with a slight chance of rain
hoping my foolishness will tempt fate again
encouraging clouds to share precious moisture as they hover
showering on my camera lens as I hasten to find cover
Choosing to head home not wishing to be drenched
wondering later if retreating was wise
perhaps the earth’s thirst would have been quenched
instead I watched safely through my window
disappointed by rapidly clearing skies
Ah, who knows what life has in store
Just one day more
Mow the lawn – postponed because it’s been too dry
concerned that cut plants would quickly fry
Then take little Pinto out for his mid-day stroll
As we’re leaving our yard thunder crackles and rolls
Sprinkles start as we walk down the street
Transforming the air – now moist and sweet
Half way home it begins to pour
Soaking us both before we reach our door
Both grateful in our own way
For the surprising storm we encountered today
Acknowledgement – A dear friend recently reminded me how important humor is in our lives, although he spells the word differently – “humour.” I had begun this silly poem and his comment inspired me to finish it. As synchronicity would have it, I had also just found an old video of Loretta LaRoche that made me laugh when I first saw it during a PBS (public television) fund-raiser. I’ve posted the video below. I hope it brings peace and healing laughter into your life, too.
Dear Sherri I doubt that you remember Billings Montana in August Air filled with smoke from the fires burning just beyond the ridge But I think of you fondly smiling almost every time I stand by the sink doing dishes
I remember our laughter in a bar after a long day when you were among the few to treat me like a friend even though I carried the heavy isolating distinction of keynote speaker at the BIA human services conference
Others looked at us our tears streaming as we laughed while you recounted stories about your nosy neighbors who reported you for feeding deer a nuisance to their sculpted yard and your creativity and humor watching their response to your latest prank peeking with binoculars through your kitchen window by the sink to watch them watching you through their binoculars to surveil your latest visitors
Life-sized sheep you crafted out of paper maché and placed in your yard as if they were “grazing” repeatedly moving them when you knew the neighbors weren’t watching to add to the illusion
The authorities finally grew weary of your neighbors’ fallacious complaints and left you alone to live as you wished feeding wildlife you loved
I am sorry I lost track of you after so many jobs and moves but I will always be grateful to you for bringing kindness and laughter into my life and forever brightening the mundane task of washing dishes as it did again this sunny morning
Do you ever want change something that annoys you? I don’t mean people, you know. I mean something like a moldy, funky bathroom.
“Ah, no,” you may tell yourself. “I wouldn’t know where to start.” So you make a few superficial changes and learn how to ignore the things that bother you. The things that you know will ultimately create problems.
Then one day you look closely. Who knows why now, but suddenly you can no longer screen out the dirty yellow daisy wallpaper on the ceiling that is sagging ever lower and peeling off. So you pull it off and discover that the glossy green paint underneath is even worse. It’s harder to ignore and you find yourself with a messy project you didn’t plan to tackle at this moment.
It would be easier to simply gut the whole bathroom and start over, but that’s not an option for many reasons. So you reflect on which steps need to be taken first and begin, learning how things are made in the process of deconstructing them, one by one, each in the proper order. You learn to laugh at your limitations and clumsiness.
“I need some kind of tool to pull this glued-on rubber baseboard off,” you think to yourself. “Yeah,” you answer, “like longer, stronger arms.” And you laugh and keep trying until you figure out how to work smarter not harder. You learn patience and tenacity.
You still have other work to do. You’ve lived with this mess since you moved here seven years ago. So chill out, but don’t give up.
Remember things can only be done step by step. Remember to take care of yourself and your other responsibilities as best you can for now. Remember to take pictures next time so you can see where you started not just what you know still needs to be done. Remember to have fun and laugh at yourself as you misplace tools, tip over the paint bucket, put curtains on rods backwards, and spend hours figuring out how to put on fancy bathroom fixtures that your guests can figure out how to deconstruct in an instant.
Remember messes are temporary necessities. Living with the constant mess of books, papers, and now, all the stuff related to remodeling means taking some time just to breathe and escape into fantasy now and then.
But most importantly, remember that nothing lasts forever –except –the legacy of the love, laughter, gratitude, and celebratory joy you breathe into what you do.
I apologize for being so slow replying to comments and visiting your blogs. I do want you to know how deeply I appreciate all of you and the important work you share.
This post describes some of the reasons why I have been absent from the blogosphere. Teaching, spending time with my lovely granddaughter, and of course shoveling snow, have also made it difficult to for me to stay up-to-date blogging.
Meanwhile, the signs of spring are evident this morning.
The snow is gradually melting given warmer days, and come May, the class I am teaching will end. Maybe my repair work will be done by then, too, just in time for yard clean up and gardening. Hopefully, I will even have time and space to return to blogging and editing/ revising my book manuscript. In the interim, I send my best wishes to all of you.