Sunday, October 19, 2014

bluejay

bluejay

 "gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings." william arthur ward

it makes me happier than you know
to see that you, too have found something to call your own
a berry, a still-bright bit of fruit amid the dripping october leaves
containing sun--like you!
in the fog of want
that says you are beheld
sustained
yes, fed
even from the very hand
of God

ls 10.18.14

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

weekend of beauty

lowercase

i've been reserving monday nights for teaching myself typography (and/or sketching, illustrating a children's story and reading chapters from "aesthetics: a comprehensive anthology" about the philosophy of art). as you've probably noticed by now, i like to type in lowercase letters. this preference was confirmed when i learned about the various forms of typeface. "the lowercase letters are a development of the middle ages (476-1200 AD) and are generally attributed to the work of charlemagne's scribes. lowercase letters are more varied in shape and are distinguished from uppercase letters by ascenders and descenders; their differentiation allows them to be recognized more quickly." thank you, scribes!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

rain

i knew enough to ride my bike to work as much as possible last week..to take my students outside to read...to host a party by the firepit...for, today: it rained. and i was grateful! i envisioned rivers being cleaned of their sledge and the greening of forest fire patches. so it's fitting to post a segment of local author brian doyle's "pitter and drench". he was asked by a prospective student's mother if it rained here in oregon. his response, in part:  

"does it rain here? look about you, woman. gaze long and lovingly on the lushness of the grass, and the vault of the trees, and the tangled insistence of the bushes, and the startling prevalence of moss, and the little swale near the chapel that is always moist no matter how hot and dry the weather, and tell me if you think that perhaps yes, a drop doth fall here and there, and then another, and then a thousand and million and uncountable zillions from november right through june, so that summer here is accounted from july to october, after which the rains begin and neither do they cease, day after day after day of mist and rain and fog and drizzle and patter and drench! 

gaze about you piercingly at the endless ranks and shades of green across the river, and tell me if you think the long thicketed flank of the tualatin mountains is perhaps the product of uncountable years of the steadiest rain you could ever imagine! gaze down upon the broad muscle of the river and consider whence came all that water, which does not cease though the sun be bright and almost doubles its serpentine girth in spring, when months of rain and weeks of snowmelt send a rush and roar of immense proportions to the sea, the water from which all things came, including, in a sense, us! does it rain? 

 madame, it does. but rather than groan and moan about it, let us consider it an extraordinary gift from the One: falling free and fresh from the sky every blessed day here on the bluff is clean water, untouched and untrammeled by the greedy hand of man; and so let us step inside the chapel, and thank that which once called itself I Am Who I Am, Who giveth us profligately the sweet and savory rain; and so amen."

Friday, October 10, 2014

on the cusp

i love nikki mcclure's artwork and find it relaxing to peruse the pages of *"collect raindrops: the seasons gathered" as we find ourselves on the cusp between summer and winter.  

"...we try to hold on to the last days of bare arms and legs. early caches of sunflower seeds stored by eager squirrels sprout a leggy forest hoping for just a little bit more. just a wee bit more. don't go. we only have sixty-four? eighty-seven? ninety-four summers if we are lucky. we hold on and take the last quick swim just to say that we did...last chance, last peach. last watermelon seed to spit. there is a quickness to everything now. first slippers, first sweater, first blankets wrapped around while reading. stop one hustle and start another kind of dance. scurry from tree to tree. fill your pockets, shirttails, wheelbarrow. ride around the block smelling for fallen fruit. night comes too early. houses glow with industry as all the food is inspected and stored away in mouths, in boxes, in baskets overflowing. wipe your feet. come inside..."

*and i may just offer a reward to the person who finds the two pages that are missing from this library book! i know it's a compliment to the artist in one way, but in another, it's not: buy her prints! especially since each paper takes her hours and hours to cut. i will confess to many things with library books (accidental coffee rings, occasional pencil corrections and some dog-earing) but blatantly tearing pages out is not one of them. ok, end of rant. on a more peacefully autumnal note, i'm excited to go to hood river tomorrow and get a bevy of apples to share!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

the story of we

my book pile was dangerously low...until i rediscovered our school library. my greed returned, as i piled more and more young adult titles into my hands to satisfy me until my items on hold have time to arrive from the public library domain. getting my middle school classes further into poetry and allegory this autumn, i thought more about story and how, while our own unique tales are important, they make the most beauty within the larger picture.

 helping my students move from "the story of me" to the "story of we" takes many forms, the least of which sometimes involves me drawing a circle on the board and saying "this is the universe" and, placing a mark in the middle, adding "this is not you or me." we get to put God in the center here, for which i am grateful, but i've been thinking about the larger context anyway: even the strangers' lives that intersect with ours. for example, when i ride my bike to work, depending on the time i start pedaling, i see a lady who bikes in the opposite direction. she has a crate bungee corded to the back of her bike and her cycle looks a bit small for her body frame, but she makes it work. then there's the older asian gentleman i pass. he walks down the same section of sidewalk in the morning light, hands clasped behind his back, strolling with intention and looking down as if in deep thought. i wonder about these people.

where are they going? what are they thinking about? we may never even speak, but somehow we are also part of the story of we. what context do you find your story in; what might your bigger picture be?