There are moments in one’s past that stand the test of time. They shine while all the rest muddies. They remain as beacons which illuminate all your future achievements. Sometimes you know in advance, other times it is only in reflection, but those moments grow roots throughout your life and cannot be disentangled from who you are, ever. Receiving my MA from Middlebury’s Bread Loaf School of English is such a moment for me. One for which I read and wrote and thought and worked harder than anything to reach. Of course there are many people who steered me to that pinnacle, but there was one woman who did so through her own extraordinary passion to enliven and enrich the learning of every student, whether we were in her classroom or for those in classrooms we would return to in the fall, she supported me to be my own teacher-researcher, to gather my own anecdotes, all in the service of being a better teacher. This notion seemed novel at first, the idea that a teacher could guide herself and use her own students’ feedback in such an endeavor, but Dixie Goswami’s commitment empowered me more than any educational program I had been in before, or since, and continues to direct my practice even now, two decades later.
Maybe it’s the hundreds of poetry essays moving in red folders across my table in the AP Literature scoring room, or the company of hundreds of English teachers, all equally obsessed over words, but as soon as I saw this morning’s headline on a discarded newspaper on the conference center cafeteria table, my mind flooded with questions and outrage about gun violence. I don’t want to minimize this latest shooting (prayers to all involved) but… this is what will cause Washington to become stunned over the epidemic that has been spreading like wildfire in our communities?
As we approach this Sunday in May when families sing the praise of the woman who brought them into this world, or the woman who adopted them, those mothers and step-mothers or aunts and grandmothers, let us also remember the mentors and caregivers, for there are many ways to mother after all; let us collectively nod our heads to those who nursed through feverous nights or cheered during wet soccer games and heralded us along with a nudge and even a song. Mother’s Day celebrates the cycle of love spiraling down the generations, from those who mother to all the rest. Honor her, in her multitude of forms, indeed.
After a blue sky day, when the sun drops behind the ridge and our mini-fire-pit reaches a heated pitch, we glimpse heaven on earth as snowy yard goes from blue to pink to purple. We stand witness and declare, weekends are the best! Afternoons outdoors, chatting about nothing, sitting silent for a few fleeting moments. Living beyond the work week is all we’re really after, right? Fire and sky, feet on the earth, with time on our side, now that’s a Saturday worth remembering.
Heading west on United we chased the sunset for hour after hour until the sprawling life below pixelated the blackness with a warm twinkling gold. My destination, Los Angeles, is a carnival of lights spreading in every direction; my time ahead equally shimmering, a whole week to play like a tourist. Normally, I only visit briefly with my kiddos but with a few extra days I not only experienced some favorites but several new spots too. In light of our notorious non-presidential Presidential candidate “suggesting walls at the border and shutting out entire groups of people, it is more important than ever to travel and connect with your fellow humans–whether they’re from Hamburg, Houston, or Havana. Travel is the antidote to fear” (Cosgrove, Editor in Chief, AFAR). Whether you visit the next town over, or the furthest from it, let your vantage be about adventure. Be fearless.
I’ve been to Tokyo. London. Paris. New York. Miami. But still, I want a gondolier to inform me about the ancient waterways of Venice as we float along the Grand Canal and attempt to navigate the bustle of Delhi in a rickshaw, party until dawn taking in the nightlife of Rio de Janeiro and reveling in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. I want to see my reflection in the Taj Mahal fountain, watch the grand Everest peak peek out of the clouds and the northern-lights light-up Iceland, and explore everywhere possible in northern Italy. Yes, there are plenty of places to sail, fly, drive, pedal or walk to, and all those comprise my life list.
Not able to dash to New York, London, Paris or Milan this September for their respective #FashionWeek did not prevent me from seeking a runway extravaganza. In fact, I more-than-happily attended a local favorite, a fundraiser that gets everyone hooting and hollering even more so because all the designers and models are non-professionals: this STRUT is nothing short of fabulous over-the-top excitement. But, first, there was my own outfit to consider, which took special consideration, and several attempts. Well, of course it did!