Friday, June 27, 2008

Ire con un lapiz en mi mochila. I will go with a pencil in my backpack.

I am headed to Mexico in two days and will return in a month's time. People have asked whether I am taking a camera...I thought about it for a while before deciding not to. Several years ago when I helped take a group of students to England, all of my photos were ruined at the developer. Fortunately, and not surprisingly, I wrote everywhere we had been and simply excerpted journal entries to create about five pages of reflection. I passed those out when people would ask to see where I had gone. It worked well and more accurately suited my reflection of a given event than a photo would.

There were some things I am sorry to have lost. The photos of Tintern Abbey come to mind in particular. But, tucked into the pages where I wrote of my simultaneous desire to be as small and close to the ground as possible and as tall and spread out as can be, there is a leaf from the tree under which I indulged in Wordsworth and romantic thoughts of poetic wanders.

I have hope that similar things will happen over the next month. Expect to read about them. Be well.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Soaked in Rain and Glory

I went on a picnic yesterday...complete with friend, egg salad, onion rolls, plums, drinks, and a bench along the Hudson. We spoke of many things, as we always do. Those things gradually began to include the lightning off in the distance, the curtains of rain visible in the clouds beyond us, and the increasing choppiness of the water. As we gathered up to walk back to her apartment, there grew an intimate immediacy to these topics. Big, fat, wet drops began dappling down and quenching the summer thirst for relief from the ordinary. We walked in the rain, got thoroughly soaked, and then had cups of tea after towelling off and finding/borrowing dry tee shirts.

It was rather fun, to tell the truth. Usually rain is seen as a deterrent to picnicing... here it was sort of an added bonus. Ah, the gift of perspective...and company that shares it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Opening up

I don’t know who JD is—an in tune little girl, a thoughtful young boy—but the freshly pressed and tidy child sitting next to me on the bus a couple of mornings ago was telling me about attending a birthday celebration for her/him.

The story began with my companion bus rider practicing her nouns. Dog! Window! And, most emphatically, Umbrella! Knowing her approximate age, and the slim projected chance for precipitation, I assumed the umbrella was more of a treasure than a talisman to ward off undesired weather. She got this umbrella—this unavoidably pink, emblazoned with Snow White, umbrella—at JD’s birthday party. And she was darn proud of it. The small commuter broke into song as I was getting off—a three year old’s confident version of “Bippety-Boppity-Boo.” I hoped no one would tell her that it was from a different movie than the brolly offered, with pride, for viewing by any who passed.

She was happy being on the bus with her mother, an umbrella, and people who in her mind were there only to receive the stories she arranges and bestows like bouquets.

As she ages and her stories become more complex, nuanced, and even perhaps painful, may she never falter in the belief that her stories are gifts and that there will be people willing to receive them with the recognition and respect they deserve.

Salt Water Clay

Salt Water Clay

I do not know
if it is the beauty of recognition
or the marvel
of what is saved from imagination so
that it might bloom with experience.

But there are those times—

when the glory
of an honest heart is
singing its song
or writing its Word or
sculpting its emotion
and meets in another heart
the warm reception of honor—

that grace becomes tears
and tears become blessing
and blessing becomes
in turn, again,
warm, soft, pliable glory—

living clay to be crafted
over time
by wheels of experience,
spinning and shaping,
revealing and ever revealing.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sleeping Loose

I love the idea of sleeping loose rather than sleeping tight. I close the evening email to a friend with the wish "sleep loose." Tonight I decided to explore that notion a see what it might look like.

sleeping loose

when you hear
the sparkle
of dreams a'coming
and see the wide, free colors
of the tracks ahead
and jump the train steaming
wishes and tomorrows
and you feel the wind
laughing and praying
and wrapping in love
anyone who aches
and you notice that the air
tastes a bit like peppermint.


Sunday, June 8, 2008


It has been a while since posting anything new. Forgive me, those of you who check regularly and are wondering where I have been! The end of the school year is not my most reflective time. The chaotic schedule of different activities and celebrations, the hype level of my students, my goofballs, my borrowed daughters, my charges, 147 children of a creative, loving God.

The title of this post, disponible, is a word that suits well these past weeks. Availability. One who is disposed to doing the various and sundry. Such, often, is the life of this librarian...working with the students, teaching research skills, preparing liturgies, practicing for those with the students, helping to write our school accreditation documents, helping inventrory to collection, troubleshooting technology issues, troubleshooting homework issues, troubleshooting life issues that are important when you are in middle school...but it also holds true for me outside of work. Just today, I have gone to Mass, gone to brunch, walked a good couple miles, translated a document from Spanish into English, fixed a computer, climbed a ladder to change a bulb, cleaned up glass, been kissed and hugged, bestowed kisses and hugs, read the paper, cleaned the coffee maker, read a book, given directions to a stranger...and thought about a poem. Very little of this was known to me upon rising this morning. In fact, it is safe to say that the only certainties at 7 in the morning involved reading the paper and brewing a pot of the elixir of life and be followed by a trip to Mass.

Isn't that life, really, when we pay attention? To be live a little looser than a hard/fast plan. It's taken me a while to get here and it doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, life looks pretty darn good.