a solitary bloom

September 17, 2005

A solitary bloom appeared on my gardenia bush yesterday, after 3 months of dormancy. I had already grieved over its apparently short blooming season of this year, and had resigned myself to the idea of waiting until next summer to see another of its lovely white flowers. But yesterday, as I am stubbornly accustomed to doing, I looked at it in passing and then, surprised, looked again. I gasped–sure enough, there was a brilliant new bloom.
And then my eyes welled up. You see, I latched on to that flower as a symbol of new hope, when hope is lost. As a sign that sometimes, every once in a while, we get a glimpse of the reason behind all the lost hopes that have been snowing us under.
Yesterday just happened to also be the day that, after 6 months of fruitless job-hunting and self-confidence crushing work experiences, I stumbled upon a gift of a job. This is going to be work that I will delve into with all my energy and with all my heart, and it is work that I will get to claim, to see the immediate fruit of. And, most amazing of all to me, in my up-to-this-point state of work self-confidence, it is exactly, precisely what I can do, can do well, and what invigorates me as I do it.
My single surprise of a new bloom is lovely indeed.

tybee tales

September 11, 2005

For this past Labor Day weekend, I was privileged enough to spend the weekend with my friend Cassie at her family’s Tybee Island beach house. It was, suffice it to say, a delightful vacation. It was also slightly eventful, with a few escapades along the way. I have sent out the entire series of “illustrative” photos to some folks, but here will only include one, posted below. But this is what happened . . . more or less . . .:
While out on the boat, we came upon a deserted lighthouse, perched on a lone island of oyster shells. Being the fearless souls that we are [and upon a tempting suggestion by Cassie’s mother], Buddy drove his fishing boat headlong onto the shore, beaching us just long enough for Cassie and I to leap into the air. We leapt out of the boat and onto the oyster bed, creaked open the lighthouse door and, waving cobwebs out of our way, crawled up the 1st set of concrete steps to climb through the upper trap door. There we shooed the bats out of our way in order to climb the remaining spiraling iron stairs. And then of course we proclaimed ourselves queens of the island, kings of the hill, conquering pirates . . . whatever you prefer.
Returning to the boat, Buddy treated us to a tour of true blue shrimp boats, which I was rather smitten by, in a Forrest-Gumpish sort of way. Cassie and I then decided we just had to have some shrimp and the only logical solution was to loot the shrimp boats. Cassie wowed Shrimpers with her dazzling sun-hatted grin while we innocently pilfered shrimp. But alas, we were spotted as we each now sported a cascading bucket of prize-winning shrimp spilling out from under our straw hats. A crew of fearsome captains proceeded to rush after us, waving their nets in the air and brandishing their swords [they were also, in their alternate lives, pirates, you see]. Cassie and I sped out on our well-trained cross-country racing legs and leapt back into the boat. Buddy and Marian revved the engine into high gear and we all hightailed it out of there, dodging diving pelicans and swerving around darting dolphins. First, mind you, Buddy took care to fasten all 25 fishing poles securely into place [never one to miss out on the possibility of that one lottery-sized catch of fish] so that we would be prepared to bring in the bounty.And that, my friends, was Labor Day weekend on Tybee.

After an evening spent dining on shrimp gumbo, Creole, scampi . . . and all manner of fish fry, we returned from our vacation, where we are now pursuing once more our daily lives as mild-mannered and perfectly normal[?] members of the work force.
Oh–one other noteworthy event of the weekend: while exploring downtown Savannah, we got to take advantage of Satrunday night festivities on the Riverwalk. One of which was a sidewalk DJ and riverside dance party. So, of course, Cassie and I got our groove on and enjoyed a bit of booty dancing to some of the current hiphop hits. Cause hey, ya gotta surrender to the urge to, need to dance.

September 11, 2005

[shrimp] gumbo . . .creole . . .scampi . . .etc

on teachers

September 2, 2005

I just read an article in the journal Rethinking Schools, entitled “Welcoming Kalenna.” Brain synapses now firing . . .

“How I yearned to have a teacher who could see me, hear me, and dance with me,” writes Laura, the author of this article . . .

reading this made me ache for “homeless” children everywhere. and wish that all could have such a teacher as Ms Negri-Pool. how blessed to have a teacher who understands, who empathizes.
i, for one–and i suspect there are many sensitive children like i was–looked up to my teachers intensely, throughout elementary, high school, even college [heck, even grad school!]. and so most of my vivid school memories centered around interactions with those teachers who, negatively or positively, impacted my life in some focused, pivotal manner.
the u.s was a bewildering country when we moved here. there was stuff everywhere, so much stuff. choices abounding, over what seemed to me the most ridiculous things to choose from. why have more than one kind of toilet paper in the store . . . who needs toilet paper anyway?? . . . why don’t i smell anyone, really smell them?–deodorant–why use such a thing?? . . . what do you mean, don’t climb the tree–what else is it for, but to climb? you know how nice the world looks from the top of the paw-paw tree? . . .
that first day in elementary school, grieving for my daddy, for my broken mother, i gazed around the classroom with widened, nervous eyes. at the end of the day, i thought, “i made it. i can go home now. i think i understood everything . . . most everything . . .” and then the teacher wrote on the board: HOMEWORK ASSIGMENT, and a list of pages. and i had no idea what that was. all the kids around me were writing things down in their notebook, and i had no idea what i was supposed to do.
you see, i had been in boarding school–“homework” was an utterly foreign concept to me, though no one thought to explain such a “normal” part of the school day. finally, i sucked up my longing to silently make it through the day, and i raised my hand: “Um, Miss Warner. . . what is homework?”
“You mean, what did I write here?,” she replied. Students giggled.
“No, I mean, what is homework”
She hesitated, ummm’d, and then said something to the effect of, “why, of course, work you do at home . . .”
the other kids snickered. my face flushed, i realized oh, of course that was what it was. how could i be so dumb? . . .

and: “How I yearned to have a teacher who could see me, hear me, and dance with me” . . .