Tuesday, August 7, 2018

What does it mean?

I am participating in the
Tuesday Slice of Life with Two Writing Teachers.
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day.
A big thank you to Two Writing Teachers for providing this unique opportunity
for teacher-writers to share and reflect.

Loved seeing this bird on a recent walk!
I love a nice long walk, whether in the woods, through the neighborhood, in the city, by the shore...it doesn't matter where, I simply love to walk. I walk and I notice. I look for 'signs' - signs of what? Well, I don't know! Signs of the unexpected, signs of surprise, signs of wonder.  

We have had a lot of rain this summer, here in the Mid-Atlantic. We have had powerful storms, light drizzles, long days of rain, brief squalls...it has come in all shapes and sizes. We've broken records for rainfall. After a rainstorm, I love to wander down to my local walking path and explore what's new, what has changed. This walking path is alongside a creek. A couple of the rains have been so mild with no thunder or lightning that I have been able to throw on my raincoat and take a walk in the park during the storm. Walking in the rain is a delight all its own. Several times this summer, the storms have closed the park (thankfully, only for a matter of hours at most), as the water from the creek rushed up over the banks and threatened the road...I avoid the walking path at these times, and wait for the park to re-open. 

In recent weeks, due to all the rain, the creek runs fast and brown, with the soil from the bottom swirling about. There is sand and sediment on the walking path, and debris woven into the fences of the foot bridges, the trees and shrubs along the bank. It's not unusual to see plastic bags and other trash hanging from the branches of trees, as if reaching back to the creek. The shrubs along the bank are also flattened, pressed down at an earlier time by over-flowing water. Many trees have toppled...each rainstorm brings down a few more, lifted up out of the ground by over-saturated roots. I notice that there are often very few if any birds or other wildlife immediately following a storm - it's as if the area is briefly abandoned.

I am fascinated by one tree that - rather than coming up by its roots - cracked open about six feet from its base and toppled onto the ground with its two enormous forked branches falling on either side of a recently-installed park bench. Smaller branches and twigs are strewn every which way. The park bench sits in the midst of this destruction, intact and happy:

Why did the tree break like this? The trunk did not appear ravaged by decay or termites or anything. I didn't see a line of similar damage, no other trees in the vicinity broken in the same way  - which I know would have indicated a wind storm. Hmm. Mystery. 

What does it mean? Here's my thought on this last day of summer - may I be like that park bench, strong, resilient, in the midst of whatever wild storms await me this school year. When those heavy demands rain down on me - may I remember to breathe in, breathe out, resilient. 

Goodbye, summer. Here's to the new school year!


  1. Oh my goodness, I love this! I love the way you wrote this at the beginning - all the detail. I was right there with you, walking along the creek. So great. And then "may I be like this park bench" just got me! What a wonderful wish.

    Thanks - this was great!

  2. great writing and i love the way you started the article. Thanks for sharing

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