I’ll admit, it was good to have a break. We traveled to the ocean for a few days and I caught up on my sleep. I didn’t make as much progress cleaning out my art room, but I did finish a writing project that had been looming. It was a good time to pause and contemplate both the past and what lies ahead. Stepping away from the Seed for a short while always brings me back with fresh eyes, and renewed passion for the work we do.
Wednesday morning I spent my usual hour with the 3rd/4th graders talking about poetry. We examined a poem by Barbara Esbensen about a cat, looking at the descriptive language and her use of line breaks. Students explained with great sincerity why certain lines “jumped out at them.” After awhile we ventured into simile and metaphor. For some, these were new concepts, while others confidently gave their explanations and insights. Following the discussion, they wrote, sprinkling their lines with simile and metaphor to the best of their understanding. In the beginning days of this new year they were already engaged in discovering how metaphor can open up their world.
That afternoon I took a break from my desk and walked around the playground for awhile. I checked out the newest flags in Gwen’s Castle, scoped out projects in the construction area, and took a look at sand circle activity. I wandered up closer to the building and took note of all the leaves that had fallen since mid-December. Bare branches high up in the 1st/2nd graders’ tree revealed a robust bird’s nest. A bird with vision. The sky backdropping the nest was as blue as I’ve seen it in a long time. The moment felt clear, authentic. As I lingered on the sidewalk, the sparse branches holding the nest revealed something else. My own metaphor was waiting to be found. I thought of the bird in a different season, choosing to build its nest high above the earth under coverage of green leaves. The nest building likely went unnoticed by most until the leaves dropped, exposing it high in the branches. It was constructed wisely above the ground where curious young scientists and hungry four-legged predators would not have access.
The message of my nest metaphor—to keep going high, even when no one is noticing—brought this quote to mind (paraphrased from Charles Marshall in Shattering the Glass Slipper): “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” Stepping into this new year, I am re-dedicating my commitment to living this way. And you can be sure my eyes will be open even wider so I won’t miss other metaphors that materialize to guide the way.