We are so sad, we will miss you so
Putting poetry in the hands and minds of children is more than an act of a kind teacher. It is a blessing, and you are on a mission focused on nothing less than their survival and their heritage. Thank you. From my heart.
The power of rivers is awesome in the original sense. Thanks for the reminder to seek nature and eschew individualism. I forget that I'm part of it. I'm going to drive into the Pines again tomorrow to finish up my exploration of the old stagecoach road but there's also a nature boardwalk across a swamp in going to check out, and maybe a dwarf Pine forest too.
"... I urged them not to forget them, that though we change as we get older, much of who we are remains the same. Especially the things that bring us joy. Why is it so hard to stay connected to joy? ..."
Part of me is afraid to be connected to joy. That part of me was attacked whenever I appeared to be experiencing joy as a child. Those attackers are no longer alive. That child is still alive inside me. For that child's sake, I can let go of my fear of joy.
Speaking of joy, a few days ago I was sitting and talking to a friend on my cellphone while looking out the window at the cattail pond I can see from the window of the tiny aging condominium where I live on my small Social Security check. The sky was a brilliant grey. The pond is becoming greener and greener with cattails as it does every spring. I became aware of a small flock of birds on the alder saplings that are growing up in the islands that have formed since a culvert was built years ago to keep the pond level low. Beavers had built dams there for who knows how long but the pond was beginning to flood the low-lying property of the houses adjacent to the pond and the city took that action. Fortunately, the beavers have remained here at Scudder Pond despite the culvert.
As I listened to my friend, I watched the birds and gradually realized that they weren't the usual birds I see out my windows. I got up and found my binoculars and was rewarded with a intimate view of Cedar waxwings. It's been years since I have seen even one of them. The first time I saw one from my windows I was sure that it was an exotic bird who had escaped from its cage. It was a joy to learn that it was a wild bird. A Cedar waxwing. And now a flock of them. A connection to joy.
Thank you for the sorely needed reminder, Chris. When everything is awful, it's easy to talk myself into thinking I don't deserve the joy, don't deserve to be in the beauty of the natural world when so many are suffering. I know it's completely the wrong way to think about it, "deserve," and your way of being in the world helps me scramble out of that stupid paper bag.
A teacher always wonders, when leaving the sharing space, if learning has occurred. Wonder no more!
Yes to nature. I’ve had an especially difficult and heart rending week so I’m so looking forward to my next hike. Love hearing your thoughts as usual and I will continue to subscribe. Right now I’m admiring the blooming daffodils in our back yard while I keep an eye out for our little neighborhood herd of deer which includes a gal who lost her foot over the winter but she’s surviving somehow.
Hi Chris, thank you for sharing your beautiful photographic captures. ‘Capture’ in a good way for sure.
Your Lazuli Bunting reminds me of the time I witnessed the presence of a Baltimore Oriole perched atop an apple tree profuse with snowy blossoms. I will never forget that image.
As for exhilaration, that is certainly the most descriptive word as regards viewing an abundance of water rushing towards its destination. Years ago our area experienced some horrific flooding, and tragically, several lives were lost. One soul was swept from his riverside home, two were caught in a deluge that overtook a field. Weeks later I was dining at a restaurant located adjacent to a river that was still swollen and which was moving with ferocity. It was frightening, awe inspiring, and exhilarating. Raw power to respect and at which to marvel.
And your students. What treasures they have presented to you! Fades all of the bad stuff that is happening around us.
And, I have to tell you this. Because of social media, I was able to connect with my eighth grade English teacher three years ago before he passed. Talk about joy! He remembered me and my sister, Louanne. Let this be a testimonial to the importance and the far reaching impacts of the work that you are doing today.
Great post Chris.
Hope you don't mind but I snatched a copy of your Lazuli Bunting. Nothing like the sight of a vibrant (and I mean VIBRANT) bird to help keep the head on straight.
That lazuli bunting picture of yours is stunning! Sometimes when birds pose like that, their feathers set off just so by the surrounding buds, I gotta wonder if they’re actually the ones who are fully in control of the show. I mean, just look at him. I feel like he definitely wants you to get his left side and not his right.
I agree with you completely about joy, and how the things that give us joy don’t tend to change as we grow older. What beautiful advice to give to young people -- I’m sure you’ve made a tremendous positive impact on their lives.
And poetry as spiritual practice!!!
Oh, I love that poem!! Also--Lazuli bunting! omg! I'm such a bird nerd. Wish I could see one of those. I saw Osprey, Raven and Crow yesterday, and felt connected. They are like visiting angels. I feel comforted knowing they are still there, despite concrete, exhaust fumes, willful ignorance and stupid humanity. <3
What a perfect tribute for your gift of poetry to young people in a hard world
Penelope's poem filled me with happiness. Thank you for filling their souls.
Your land is so beautiful Chris. I wish to see the Yellowstone National Park in person someday. Sending warm waves of healing to you 🌼💜
I love all of this!💚 Thank you.
It's off topic, but have you seen the new signage up at the top of the drive at The Bison Range? Worth the trip, in my opinion. (Of course, the bears, bison, and ALBR are each worth the trip as well.)