Always Looking and Listening

Earlier in the week we talked with the lead teachers about blogging.  We were exploring obstacles that prevent more frequent blog writing from occurring.  This year, in particular, the addition requirements of sustaining our virtual program most definitely cut into blog writing time.  A few people mentioned that they find it easier when they have something of interest to write about.  I thought about this as it relates to my own process.  Early in my teacher-of-writing life, I was introduced to the poem “Valentine for Ernest Mann” by Naomi Shihab Nye.   A theme of the poem is that poems hide in surprising places, as is expressed in these lines:

“poems hide. In the bottoms of our shoes,
they are sleeping. They are the shadows
drifting across our ceilings the moment
before we wake up. What we have to do
is live in a way that lets us find them.”  

Re-reading the poem was informative in that it brought to light a process I’ve spent decades practicing: staying wide awake to the small things that might be a clue to something big and important.  In a way, it’s like looking for signs, little road marks along the highway.  An additional aspect of the process is figuring out how the different observations/signs relate to each other or the theme that arises each week.  Often the theme is revealed by something I’ve noticed or photographed because it caught my eye and comes forth as the writing begins.  

This week the blogging conversation started the process.  Then later that day I spent time in my garden, harvesting cilantro seeds from the dried up plants.  I also cut dried sunflower blossoms from their stalk, each of which held dozens of fresh newly formed seeds.  The original seeds were from a packet I bought in Ireland years ago.  Another small sign was a line in a podcast about mindfulness in the workplace.  The phrase “a crucible for human growth” was one that stood out, lingering in my mind as an idea worth further consideration.  

So here I am, at the end of this week’s blog, wondering how the small parts fit together.  I would say that it’s been our intention all along to make the Seed a nurturing place for children and adults, including support of our teachers in their blog writing and other communications.  We are diligent about creating an environment that is truly a crucible for human growth.  This is particularly evident these days when we’re winding down our regular school year.  It’s a time of reflection on all the ways we’ve learned and grown together.  It’s the season for harvesting, collecting the seeds for future planting.  Our final days are bittersweet as we all go through the process of letting go in one way or another, releasing another batch of seeds to the world, heavily laden with potential.