August 7, 2018
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about noticing. Up until this past week, I had the gift of time. Time allows for noticing.
Most mornings I take my dog, Lily for a mile walk down our long street and back. She has her own way of noticing, head down, sniffing along as we go. I notice neighborly things, new driveway, phlox blooming, green acorns starting to fall. I capture these images, sometimes in my IPhone and sometimes in that sweet fleeting summery essence of consciousness where tiny miracles are collected.
I’m thinking about that repository this morning because summer is essentially over. While I am still mostly living in my sneakers, t-shirts, and shorts world, I have actual deadlines again. Meetings, plans, emails, all signaling the approaching year. So I’m trying to fill up the marvelous reserve of summer.
I had summer goals this year. Some accomplished. Some I might still finish. Some that will carry on into the fall and perhaps the winter. But one goal, one goal spoken to few, I accomplished and I want to hold on to why I choose it and why I feel it is the most important goal of all.
I took a month away from school.
An entire month.
I read blogs. I read books. Mostly, I lived in the world. I went on vacation with my husband. I talked to him, laughed with him. I noticed him. We’ve had a lot of moments together. Thirty seven married ones tomorrow and some more before that. We’ve been married more than half of our lives. We have memories and experiences. We have routines and responsibilities. This summer I wanted us to have moments.
So what about these moments and those noticings do I hope will sustain me over the course of this school year?
Think about this moment I am in right now. Not the next moment, not the ‘to-do’ list, be present with the students, the teachers, the parents, the colleagues that I am with at the moment. Observe. Notice. Wait for things. Let things reveal themselves. Exercise patience. Give this gift to them, but also myself.
Notice the little things. New shoes, yes. Also, attempts. As the district as a whole opens themselves up to the possibilities of embraces a curriculum together, be in the approximation. Release the agenda, the should’s, and live in “did you notice that?” WOW!
Listen. Listening is an important noticing. Eyes on, mind cleared listening from deep within myself. Not thinking about what I am going to do or say next. Just listening. Most of the time people can work it out themselves. Kids and adults.
Keep hold of the connections. That invisible thread that runs through our school community, our curriculum, the days and weeks that blend into the year. Noticing what develops in the weaving, slipping out mistakes and reweaving strengthening the fabric of our experiences.
So I am going to keep that baby blue jay, that glimpse of bright orange oriole, that sunset, that morning glory, those puppy eyes in a proverbial jar on my desk to remind me of what I’ve learned. What I hold dear. What I can be.
This year, year thirty eight, I will be noticing.
Thank you to Stacy, Beth, and the Slice of Life team for creating this amazing inspirational place and to my fellow slicers who encourage me to write and celebrate all my approximations. Please read more of their slices here.