What a sweetly simple Monday off from school. A soft drizzle scattered throughout the day, providing a dark and dreary backdrop perfect for Halloween lights, pumpkins, and mums.
As I graded students’ essays, the gray mist had me daydreaming of some faraway rain-drenched isle. What better telly, then, to binge on than Shetland, the mystery series based on the Ann Cleeves novels set in Scotland. I mean, look at this…
And then back to this Netflix documentary for a break from the news of the day, which continues to be so loud, combative, and irritating to the spirit….
I find myself looking to the past for learning, inspiration and optimism, even hope.
A quiet day before heading back to the classroom tomorrow. Word on the street is that seniors are up to some shenanigans and will be cutting school for an extra long weekend. Fine by me. I have much more grading, reading, lesson-planning, and daydreaming of faraway rainy places to do.
I recently discovered a new poem. One of the benefits of reading voraciously is that you are constantly learning, traveling, unearthing, sharing, exploring, questioning, wandering, growing, and discovering. And aren’t those some of the best bits of life? Some of the very actions that give us meaning and purpose?
Poet, performer, librettist, and professor Douglas Kearney read the poem in an online course I was taking (“Sharpened Visions: A Poetry Workshop” via Coursera), and I immediately fell in love with its exquisite colors and concrete images, simple–though anything but. I replayed Kearney’s reading of the poem several times that week and in so doing discovered another poet to enjoy and introduce to my students–Kearney himself.
And then I did the next obvious thing, the only possible choice….I cooked up a hot, steaming plate of beans and rice (tossing in cilantro, chunks of fresh garlic, and Sriracha for kicks) and devoured the delicious simplicity of the dish.
Enjoy this poem, and then go and cook up some beans and rice of your own to relish. It really doesn’t get much better, does it?
“Red Beans” by Victor Hernandez Cruz
Next to white rice
it looks like coral
sitting next to snow
Hills of starch
The burnt sienna
Azusenas being chased by
the terra cotta feathers
of a rooster
There is a lava flow
through the smoking
spills on ivory
Ochre cannon balls
next to blanc pebbles
Red beans and milk
make burgundy wine
from the eggshell
tinge of the plate.
Hello! I am enjoying a peaceful morning here, quiet except for the birds chirping and a distant lawnmower humming. Oh, and a quacking squirrel. Yes! I had no idea until yesterday that squirrels can make noise. I thought a wayward duck had lost its way onto my balcony, but it was a skinny little squirrel making all the racket. I am not sure if that means it is hurt, angry, or just wanting to chat. I will research.
I have been busy as a squirrel myself in the past couple of days, dusting off the syllabi, creating some new presentations in Google (I am loving their Slides as an alternative to PowerPoint), digging through my magic hat for fresher lesson plans…sometimes it’s hard with The Scarlet Letter or The Iliad, you know?
Mimi was in disbelief when she saw me getting back to work….That is the exact expression I will have on MY face when I hear those hundreds of high-schoolers entering the building on that first morning a couple of weeks from now. Shock to the senses!
And so now, it’s busy busy busy. Lots to do before heading back, including….staring at this mountain of books remaining from my summer reading list and wondering what to read next. Sigh…life is good.