Irresistible Fragments

You belong to the Air

always pointing there

Howling at my doors

Your winds of war

Tiwaz fragment 4-12-21

This has been a fragmented school year. The familiar routines still feel uncomfortable. The ringing of bells off and on, picking up students (and teachers) in unexpected places. So many, many hurry-ups and whoopses and much profanity and bold ennui. We practice words we never knew until a year ago but they don’t help us learn. Well, maybe some of us knew the educational jargon before, but memory has been another fragmentation, and of this I write in some kind of long-awaited space, which defies education altogether. The existence of words can make them so. And each morning I study these, like some ancient map or unread dusty book (there are many this year). Literacy and learning fragmented by new words and new Science and (even) here in America, new Civics.

The nonexistence of someone’s beliefs fragment us; it can’t be done or had to be done yesterday. School language is rough and sputtering–fragmented–throughout the day until great intentions need a nap (by lunch time). Fragments of learning evidenced everywhere in my classroom closet full of 17 years of children’s books and classics and hands-on activities. But like some great wall, which may never really be built except what already exists in our nation’s head, beliefs give us comfort, a neat and tidy border from which to cross or turn and go another way. I can almost taste it in the Air. Change. For better or worse. We’ll be writing about it forever, maybe with a little humor.

And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,

When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.

The Destruction of Sennacherib, Lord Byron

I wish to purge and be light again. It’s time. The long fragmented year (and a half) is coming to an end; I wish to read and remember, and empty myself of fragments, writing kennings and highlighting that something can be done, has been done, will be done, about the struggles here–in this space and time of pandemic–in its nonexistence which dictates we must push on through testing, and Saturday school, and special programs to help the learning lag and mind fragmented by impossibilities and directives (ad infinitum). I wish to regroup and find a way back to what I remember, but memories are fragmented, too.

I toyed with words early on, abandoning this blog and my journals, to add big sweeping strokes of color and narratives, upon my backyard fence. Meadow and swamp grass grow through the boards now, speckled with paint of last Spring. Reminders everywhere on my return Home from school where here hours grow and grow and grow, fragmented. And after the inevitable fight for normalcy, what will remain? Testing? Old ways of doing school? Memories? And is my stamina and strength so fragmented as not to be taped together with duct tape, my pandemic friend for fences, computers, and chargers for our learning?

Here now fragmentation gives us imperfect organizational cell called public education, splitting off into new life without mention of what worked in the old one, tidied up by memorandum of understanding and PDFs covering i-cloud assignments and on-the-spot withitness. Here exists fragmentation of all that is real: budget, time, students, teachers, learning, reading, words. Our books piled high and in misuse and border control. I miss just reading, and I know the students do, also, but…

The hour is late, and I have some fragments to sweep up and out the door and into my car so I can drive away, never really knowing what the Day is until it’s over. I wake to sleep and sleep to wake, fragmented from myself and dreams. And writing my blog has that same deja vu; a chance for irresistible circumstances to collapse in its own silence and return to unknowing and unknown as a pleasure. I’ll leave the fragments of incompleteness and ubiquity to my memory.

Irresistible Amateur

More important than ever to be the enthusiastic amateur rather than the disgruntled, grumpy, overworked teacher.  We can do this.  Don’t let your big district and boss lay the growth mindset trip on you; seize the day and each moment as #theonlymoment!  Teachers have all they need to be #changeagents, but it first begins with our own vision.  Is it clouded by the end of the year? Reset. Reset. Reset. via Jaded

Irresistible Feeling

I cannot help but wonder as I teach a biology unit in science at life’s miraculous presence from the microscopic level to our vast universe.  I think it is time to infuse Common Core (and its critics) with movement.  Let us move from thinking to feeling.  It starts with educators! Teach empathy and model kindness.  Let us move from reacting to reflecting (the real critical thinking) via Subtle Effortless Action.  There is nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Kindness matters more now than ever.  #guncontrol #safeschools

Vast.

vast

Practice without renunciation is avoidance. Renunciation without practice is not long-lived.  Together, practice and renunciation make all our dreams possible.

Rolf Gates, Meditations from the Mat:  Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga

Day 6 – For years, I awoke and rose at 3:55 a.m., shuffled out to the porch with a half-cup of coffee and a big glass of water, and jumped around, pounding my feet and joints into their current somewhat decrepit state of present moment.  I was convinced that this movement was the answer.  I maintained a precarious, yet disciplined, schedule, ate small doses of food spread strategically throughout the day, and collapsed in bed at 6 p.m., ready to do it all again.  And, like all things this regimen, I became too tired, hungry, and injured, to do this.

Abhyasa, practice, and vairagya, nonattachment or renunciation, work hand-in-hand.  I use to believe that renunciation (nonattachment) meant I had to renounce certain things, like bread or beer or a cup of coffee or French fries or chocolate cake or missing a workout, but even as early as today, in rereading our book for a fourth time, enjoying three years of separation from the pounding I gave myself on the porch, I understand so much more.  Vairagya is about the renouncing of old habits that no longer serve one, and it enriches one’s practice (abhyasa).

I, too, like Rolf, find “in the peace of the early morning…I let go of the need to do anything or be anywhere.”  Learning about life, I study my movement and my stillness, so that everything becomes a practice; standing becomes a practice, walking becomes a practice, sitting or lying still becomes a practice, and dancing becomes a practice.  In the stillness of purposeful, intuitive movement or the quietude of meditation, the vastness of the moment unfolds.