Grains of Sand

sand creaturesEspecially this time of year I have to be mindful of not repeating myself. As the spring season comes into full bloom, it’s hard not to write about the lovely sunflowers, the growing band of hollyhocks, or the doves again building their nest in unusual places, this year on the light fixture by the main door into the building. Today as one of the children approached me with a bag of ribbon and asked for permission to make a May pole, I was tempted to write about May Day when I was a child. Then I realized that I’d already written about it two years ago on the same first day of May when Bin Laden was killed. The challenge during the spring is to write about this time of transition in a fresh way.

Each Wednesday of this year, I’ve spent an hour in the 3rd/4th grade classroom, teaching poetry to a highly talented group of writers. We have learned about line breaks, cracking open a sentence, and getting specific with descriptions of events. We’ve talked about how to choose a topic and why it’s important to keep the tense of a poem consistent. I’ve sat with each writer one-on-one to make final edits on their poems. We’ve examined small natural objects to use as inspiration for poetry. We’ve grown together, side by side, as poets. They have opened their circle and invited me in, even on days when I had to make the unpopular announcement that all children were being asked to choose an alternative favorite Seed memory to the rubber chicken event on last year’s graduation trip.

Earlier in the week I was especially touched by the visit of a small group to my office, each child with a freshly crafted sea creature in hand. I was caught up in their enthusiasm and asked if we could go outside to photograph their creations. We migrated outside and found just the right shady spot in the sand for the photo shoot. As we walked back inside I realized that for several of these kids, only a few weeks at the Seed remain. The way they were with each other, in an almost sibling-like way, was permeated with the energy of friends savoring their final days together. I could hear it in their words, see it in their eyes, and feel it in their laughter. Even the children who still have another year were very much aware of this, knowing some of their friends would be off to other places in a short time. As we all made our way from the sand circle into the building, I thought of our days as grains of sand sifting through an hour glass. At times like this when an experience seems to be slipping away, it’s good to remember that as the hour glass is emptied on one side, there is always the adventure of what’s next when it’s turned the other way.

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