Summer is an expansive, bouncy rainbow beach ball. An inflatable lofty thing. A super delux, BIG AGNES C-Core air mattress saving my lower back from hard rocky soil. Soft, yet sturdy like Love. Shock absorbant, and cushioning even to the the hardest hits or falls. An airy content tent with zipper door wide open to the Eastern sunrise. An open-ended, open-minded friend who takes being both blown up, and let down. Through all this unintended abuse….She still forgives and leaves space for inclusion.
Summer is…..OPEN with a neon VACANCY sign in the window. A five star, plush Resort destination with ammenities and upgrades. Magnificent and beautiful as mountain meadow pallets of lupine, bluebell, and paintbrush. Freeing and breathable as prevailing canyon winds. Sometimes quirky, mostly predictable. Alwuz there.
Sadly, the closer I get to my friend, Summer, and the more I experience her, the farther away she becomes in distancing. All the time, the two of us separating to …closer and closer to a new school year. Everything feels like tight unbroken new shoes, but the promises of sparkles and new fun laces, in smiles and learning keep me moving forward to more controlled seriousness. Less giggly eruptions. Routine. Familiar. School, children….and people who expect results! I am already uploading my survival plan coupled with the improvement one like I am trapped in an Alvin Ho children’s chapter book. Ugh! I WILL love this.
Along the Summer trail, everything, everyone, and every place is a blessing. Yes, I will miss Summer. In time, She will leave, feeling full, taxed and tired, having put in her time in welcome overstay. Me whining and wanting more. She, antsy and racing to the airport, highflying a jet stream return route. Driving a windblown, gray ribbon of divided highway. Me driving like a nutcase near home, texting friends in the construction zone, driving way too fast and dodging New Jesey barricades…to and from big city action to little lonely Podunkville…or anyplace….no matter the setting or character group. To and from lonely. Sigh.
I resist counting down to our School District’s Opening Institute. I ignore Penny Days at Staples, postpone purchasing school supplies, raising desks, combing sales ads for back to school clothes shopping. My teens disagree, in love with shopping, while I kick the door guard, turn a polished key to a classroom lock, fight the clean up.
My classroom and the Common Core require more each year. Once again…I pretend the Summit County Fair is not coming. So much of this has become a whole lot of BULL riding. 🙂
In the back of my mind I am sacrificing to the sun god even though it is raining cats and dogs. I’ve talked curriculum for two precious vacation days. Yes. On the breaks recalled bare bone writiing, Art smarts, common formative parole school. I kind of despise these sacrificial lambs, but I DO want to be a better teacher. Do better by the kids. Better than FEELING NEGATIVITY and FAILURE along this furious RACE TO THE S-TOP, days of Nanowrimo unnovel writing. There is a prize to pay for idleness and for INDUSTRY!
The months of carefree Summer go to moth and rust, until I am working on a new class list and matching yearbook pictures to student names in a game of Fall in Love with the rolo-dex, and gaming concentration, like an ice breaker activity with myself, by myself twirling an ice pick…too near myself. Here, trying to be sharp and focused!
Yes. These are first introductions. Reintroductions with a few. A dry fire run through the chamber. A dress rehearsal coveted…“I love and respect you and want to teach you” facetime with still shots. I say each child’s name outloud and study their little faces several times, listening to the sound of their name, tasting phonemes, visualizing spellings. Memorizing each countenance, innitiating connections. Somehow sensing and discerning something special about each one that I will recognize later in some whispering. Creating raport, classroom community, and populating a Mastery Connect list in an empty learning space.
As I prematurely mourn the passing of Summer, I am cognisant and grateful for this Dear one for so many reasons, and in so many ways… the greatest of which is likely for the space and liberty she has gifted me, undeservingly. I draw her in my mind as if life’s breathe. I love her for affording me forgiveness, purpose, self awareness. and renewed Gratitude. Eventually confidence will come in staying the course. Thank you God.
God gives His children so much with really very little thanks in return. I am sorry. I think there are brats who look and act like….me. None in my classroom, of course. If love is so enabling, then why do I often feel disabled. What do I give to God and to others, aside from gray and grief? Sometimes smiles, or a word of encouragement. Sometimes a hand, or a piece of lovely writing. Occasional legitimate instruction. Feedback through prayer.
Seldom, but sometimes, I return a willingness to submit and to conform to correctness and respectful ways. More quietly I step to the line, obeying an unwritten, assumed gag order. Conforming to the status quo, to half truths, to fidelity, to consistency, meditating toward coveted exactness. The education machine rolls forward like a combine chewing up and spitting out. Teachers are raked and tossed until they find their last straw. Will I last?
In secret, I am more often visualizing a redesign as if from Popular Mechanics protorypes. Instead of giving exactness and honor, I give only spiritedness, haphazard enthusiasm for life, and this received by some peers as irritating, reckless abandon. Endless questioning. Smiles. Playfulness. 🙂 These, believe it or not… are gifts I once possessed and I am slowly remembering again.
Under bit and briddle I am a wild colt feeling green broken and corraled. Something has left me this season….someone dear besides Granny. A part of me I love has gone missing.
I ask, “What have I accomplished with MY Summer time in the name of good and in the name of God” ? Hm. Maybe a little. Largely, though, I have managed to fritter away so much time in fun and frivolity. This is good I think. Aside from questioning too much, from challenging, from feeling too largely, and spinning to imaginative distracted thoughts…I am still alive. Alive, feeling… and going…where? Somewhere and nowhere? I want to think somewhere imaginative is acceptable and applicable to ………something. To a setting somewhere unknown, and not yet discovered or created, but somehow useful in the now and future. Somewhere pink in Daniel Pink’s WHOLE NEW MIND.
Nowhere. I listen as the Beatles sing “Nowhere Man.” The refrain sounds strange. “Going NOWHERE.” Some people like this. Homebodies do, but I am not this. I am a goer. Go. Go. Pause at a red light. Roll through a STOP sign. Going nowhere sounds….so much less than…exotic…rightly oximoronic! it evokes images in my brain.
The first is an image of a frenzied furious life. Conducting oneself like one of those rubber paddle balls made of wood and an extra stretchy elastic string. Pinging in every direction, occassionally striking a central, focal point on the paddle in excitement and confirmation of pseudo accuracy, but mostly lost and riquochetting out of control in every direction imaginable. Requires dexterity, eye-hand coordination. Luck. Cuz if you can’t be good, be LUCKY!
Ha ha, Some risk, and no risk at the same time. Kind of exciting. The ball never leaves the limits of elasticity and gravity dictates its return. Sounds safe enough. Geometically it is quite freeing to travel X number of thrilling paths and experiences. Like that first break in billiards are my Adventures. Limiting within limits.
Truth is….this life, it is risky, and this by design. One could put an eye out in trying! Bruise oneself or others. The risk serves as an acknowledgement of living, and it’s found in what is felt and left behind…..memories of both joy and pain, and maybe lessons. These gems are only as good as accompanying memory.
The ball goes everywhere and nowhere really, but back and forth like an Atari game of Pong. Like loud sprinkler heads that pop up and trace motions of sustained life in gifting living water. Like people in their lovely cars- Golden Calves pounding earth up and down the freeway…back and forth on a grid of cobbled city streets. To work, to play, to home. Repeat. Hungry. Kind of fun for awhile, this feeling important, useful. Until someone distracts, texts and creates disaster in a double ticket construction zone.
Then another image comes to life in my head. It is one of expending a huge amount of energy. This perhaps goes with the first. It is a picture in my mind of my kickboxing self. Standing on the padded floor in any sort of ready position, doing footwork, happily doing toe tag, high-kneed, smiling, as perspiration streams down my face, stringy wet hair bouncing in my face. In a pool of sweat at the end class, near collapse, but enthusiastically ready and willing to attempt the next series of punch kick sequences. Willing the instructor to bring on a second session!
However, in a different mood….in the sometimes quiet reality of loss, I am feeling something different. If willing to admit some days, I am almost too tired to move. Not physically, but mentally. I deny the thought of quitting, as if persevering is hardwired in me, even after having expended and extended too much….too much…I just keep trying anyway. Smile because of this as if it were a genetic trait carried on and over from an earlier existence from primitive to progressive. This exhaustion necessitates rest, calm, stillness…but denies natural cause and effect, and the course that reason demands, in exchange for “more.”
Why do I persevere? For the simple fact that I have always been, and I always will be a being of intelligence and wherewithall. For the rush. The feel good. The possibilities. Potentialities. I am distracted from the pain in my head and heart by the pain and climax in my muscles. Phew! Exhausting. Wanting to mentally go nowhere but to the physical escape. Sounds like a drug trip. This is not me, but these las three months have in a great sense been a summer addiction. Yes. I have obsessed in this paddle ball direction. Cheer! Ugh.
In search for inner awareness and peace, to come to terms with who I am, who I want to become, and what and whom I choose to believe in and to act upon and in behalf of, I am realizing that I have crafted a faulty improvement plan, which calls for worshiping too much self and things that are lesser than God and Positivity. In some of this blasphemy….a little idol worship feels okay, permissible in appreciating a good thing, or in maintaining confidence, trueness to self and esteme. Even so, I realize it is important to take only a little of this medicine, or poison, depending on how you view it. Moderation is a cup of mojo I await at Starbucks. And even as I moderate, I covet the extra whipping cream and the blueberry scone. I want to sample what is delicious and desireable.
Needing to continually clean out a glove box mind, I enact a “pruning” toward data mining until mine has worn out and become joined by a dilapidated owner’s manual and this sad consignment soul. Our of the blue, I find myself telling a shopping story in which I visit Good WIll. I watch from a distance, then in passing, a man discover joyfully a pair of shoes for his child. He is set on them, and is oogling the $5 pricetag in hesitation as if a hardship.
It is a hardship. I want to offer to make the purchase for him, but pride and dignity say “No” and I …..say nothing more than smile. Why the hesitation….the sick feeling in my stomach? The recognition of poverty saddens me almost as much as the memory of my own controlled childhood, as I see others intently engaged in a needy hunting and gathering.
I wonder… is one “gently used” person a treasure to God? A treasure… anymore than a once loved second-hand, yellow banana seat bicycle from an Airforce Comissary was a treasure to me as a nine year old. My dad stole that Dole for ten dollars! ha ha.
I can’t stand it! Not feeling good enough or deserving. Wanting. I have to kickstand myself back to reality. Are the poor in heart and spirit, or scuffed coveted items still a treasure if the establishment does not bear the name of Deseret Industries or Christus. Yes. Sometimes I go exclusively to Salvation Army in search of New Age thinking, but I don’t feel I am anyone’s salvation.
I am convinced I am judging myself, of course, according to the degree of empathy I am registering for the people around me, rather than for myself. I am wondering if I measure acceptable to Him and to others on the heart-o-meter. Adaptively testing to see if I have narcissistic tendencies, because I have read that a narcissist is incapable of empathy. The good news is I am capable, and not just of feeling it at times, but also of acting on it compassionately.
However, I also read that a narcissist is a horrible listener. I must have attention deficit, or something. This can be me at times when I am obsessed with something or someone….especially in writing or in a thought process. This becomes not so thoughtful, like when I interrupt another and they lose their train of thought. I feel I have wronged them. After a big day of running around and helping on a hiring committee, I nearly had a panick attack….. just thinking about expectations of…..school. Last year I nearly had a near nervous break down. But I survived and now hold a heart that has a frequently active fault line.
As I leave the thrift store, passing a regifted isle of smudged mirrors, I glance at myself…..a near semicenturian donation with a figure nearly slim line like one particular mirror or binged up cellphone screen. Another looks more like a funhouse reflection. In this reflection I am a clown. I am a foolish klutz. I am a ball toss or ring throw carnival prize with a short shelf life and a certain outcome. And yet I register value here, above, on a produce scale with a sprung spring, and at my feet on a greasy, uncalibrated tipsy bathroom one, which so many filthy feet have callously climbed onto. In the end, I realize I am worth my weight in…
Gold. The scales at the kickbox gym, like those at school are honest. Steady. True, I have have been slightly off balance in working so hard at not self destructing. These few months have felt good to not be working much at all.
Finding kick boxing has in a sense saved me. This addapted martial art sport has almost become a new obsession. What is amazing though, is in completely giving my best and my all physically, I can trick my brain into not thinking, focusing for short bursts of time on a goal at hand…as long as I am not asked to multi-task much or you don’t change my music tracks. Maybe I can do this in my focused teaching at school. I’ll try focusing.
Coffee helps prime and self-sooths first thing before my morning workout. At the Sandy studio I have been breaking down and building up my body toward beauty and strength, I love that I have become young and light, but this fall I wonder if will it last any more than this hair color will last? ha ha. Will the physique take and hold fast, or will it fade and antrophy. Maybe if I put forth a request, and believe it with all my heart in feeling, then I will receive it.
I want the “I Can” mindset to stick and the “I Can’t” to sluff off, like dead skin under a layer of goat milk lotion. Sluff off, like inches of fat replaced by hard lean muscle mass. I believe positive to be transferable and returnable as a boomerang, as well as muscle memory, and the recall of a blessed rush of endorphines. The sefish selfie that is sometimes frowned upon, if kept in sight as a visula reminder of ones “best self,” can serve as a target to keep one’s sight on. As long as it is kept in check, and is not a mirror at the bottom of a crystal blue lake, it can be a motivator. If it is a distraction, it can become a tray and you better know how to swim away from it, ofhold your breath, close your eyes, and skull hard, kicking fast to the surface for that life giving breath. Perhaps scuba diving with an SCBA should be in order…..as I am down there too long at times.
I think I can be whoever I want to be and whomever I believe I can become. The mind is powerful. The heart even more powerfull. I think I Can achieve any goal I set for myself. I am strong. I am figuring this out little by little, but find it difficult to sustain. I put my psalms together and sing a song of the heart I wish I knew what I wanted? Tough question. What do I lack? Lttle. I have so much inside and out, and yet I forget how truly blessed I am. I am malcontent. I lonely without companionship. Occasionally, I wise up and begin to pray, make a list of things I love, give thanks, plead. I realize…. I want Heaven on Earth. I want to become beautiful in aging spiritually. Requires me to leave sin behind, to cut holes in these heavy sandbags I weild with me everywhere. I want to be wide-eyed, weightless, smiling and happy……always.
Spirituality requires stretching and firing other less used muscles. I had these muscles as a child. Now the use of these muscles produces growing pains to the rhythm of internal issometrics. Somehow I think spiritual fitness will require greater Faith in Him than what I have been giving. It requires His Grace and more obedience and discipline on my part to set a new mold. I ask what is holding me back, if not myself, beliefs, actions? Negativity, defeat, regret, Sin. resistance to let gI want my blindness to be blind to darkness, not to light.
As I sit in church listening to yet another roasting of a dear, departing missionary, I miss my own Italian missionary son to the point of aching, as I listen for whisperings. I sit like a dusty untouched book, waiting for new, excited hands to pick me up, to touch me to turn my pages, to love me. I am a newly purchased bookshelf still in the box. I wish my son were here. He would put me together.
From a hard, backrow pew, from a sometimes softening heart, I think how even Jesus prayed for relief. An angel came to minister to him in Gethsemene. Of course this was the Son of God. I am nothing of this Godly sort, and yet I do have a divine nature. I wonder, here, and sometimes in hiking mountain trails, in silence, in solitude…. is it so wrong to want God to send someone to help me? If He did, would I recognize this person, these people? Would I welcome them? Listen and subscribe? Would I turn my heart and my wayward ways? Or would I fight and offend?
I hike slowly, but secretly I run a race of fast 5K proportions in my mind as I ascend to meet the Emergency Rescue Team I have volunteered to be a part of. Up there our job is saving people from themselves. Who would save me? I think If God would not send an angel, then who would he send to speak wisdom and positivity to my soul?
Sometimes I know and want a dialogue. Don’t always get one. Imagine what this would sound like. Ask for answers. This and more can be found in scripture, in the words of Christ and of the prophets…both past and present. Mostly I am blind to this reading and to this hearing and more keen to things of the world. Lame to the walking in the righteous ways of childhood. And so I pray to God to bless my unbelief…..”and when I am old……I will not depart from His ways.” Hm. In time and in cycling, there is hope.
For now, though, I thank God for blessing me with Summer. On the Twenty Fourth of July weekend, I lie still like an exposed prairie dog tunne, mound of drtl. I rest in a tent in a cool mountain meadow. Think, read, and write. I post pictures of this heavenly place on facebook… of goats, and of little girls packing a prize Publishers Clearing House sized snowball from the snowfield. She is a nine-year-old GENIUS. She knows what she wants. Keeps it and carries it with her…..until it melts. I post and imagine in like manner, until my smart battery dies and a mailbox falls empty again and again.
I am isolated from the other three men, their tents, and their snoring. Doesn’t matter though. It is an especially NOISY night. I am being circled by a herd of mostly mother and baby goats. Silence is broken by hoof beat and the raging wind. I wonder which I should fear more, the razor sharp horns or the cutting wind on my way to the bathroom. One goat follows me from the privy in the bushes. I know little more than squat and facts from animal reports at school. Spooky. Eye contact says….No, she will not harm me. Without taking my eyes off of my stalker, I unzip, dive in, and quickly rezip the tent shut. Burrowing into my mummy bag, I convince myself I am safe. I am.
I wonder if I should fear this wind and the cooling temperatures. I wonder if I am equipted for conditions. Here alone, as the synthetic side of the tent punch jabs my face, I duck and dodge. Hold a sitting stance and pose like a statue, marveling at how close the fabric comes to touching my nose and eyes. Choose to celebrate this incredible experience known to so few this evening. Wake in the crisp, dark, moonless night and feast on the banquet or lights in the Heber valley below. This incredible light display reminds me of “Fireflies” at the Phoenix Museum of Art. Astounding! They tickle my face like a head lamp of a million tiny LED lightbrites.
Motionless in my tent, I try to relax. Try to be content with nothing to lament. This is the task. This is the goal and the game afoot. I transform this tiny Army tent into a one girl content tent and think of Jesus comanding the wind and the waves outside. “Peace, Be Still.” It is not still outside, but it could be, if He said the word. And if I followed with faith in every footstep, in like manner, I would not shrink. It is peaceful and still inside, for a moment, then peter out.
I have more to celebrate than to grieve. For a wilderness weekend in which I almost forget my cares. This feeling is reinforced by another voice. The phone rings and it is a friend asking me to let them in. Other times is the absentee Father I have not known well saying, “Be still, and know I am God.” His arms are warm and embracing. In the secure, silent protection of my content tent, I am safe, and there is no place I would rather be than here at home with Him and a book of Psalms.