Wednesday, August 18, 2010

August Reflections

August light turns in by eight
and night comes early in the forest
by crickets' chorus,
shrilly sung crescendos
by a choir that no one sees.

A piece of poem.
Don't know when I wrote it, but when ripened tomatoes start to sag on drying vines and shadows begin to lengthen in late afternoon, it floats through my mind, looking for a place to go.

Last week Danny, Scotty, Sara and Thomas and I went creeking. I've talked to many teacher groups about this creek. How on one frosty Easter morning I used my walking stick to roll one rock on top of another so I could tip toe across and not get my feet wet.

I asked my friend, is that fair? To move the rock like that? Maybe we should just play them as they lay. "I don't know," she answered, "if I were a rock, I wouldn't want to stay in the same place for the rest of my life."

I went home and asked my daughter Kelly what she thought. Was it fair to move the rock? She reminded me that there were organisms living under that rock. Move the rock and you have disturbed the habitat. So I asked her football/golfer boyfriend (soon to be husband) Brian, and he said definitely, no. You move the rock, you take the sport out of it.

So, on this hot August day, no frost to be found, I visit the same creek with two of their sons, Dan and Thomas. We talk about whether to take the high road or the low road beside the creek. We confer with Scotty and Sara. And we all manage to round the bend and follow the creek with (mostly) dry feet, even though the mud DID try to suck the shoe off of Dan's foot during one rock maneuver. Life, like the creek, is constantly moving on.

Back then I also asked my friend Sharon Draper in an email, what did she think about moving the rock and she quick shot back an answer, "Jackie Robinson moved a rock and everyone has been following in his footsteps ever after."

Good answer. I asked other friends. I asked Father Ned, who answered, "We are co-creators in this universe, move the rock." That turned out to be my favorite answer. We are co-creators. And while it is up to each of us to make our own way, It sure helps to have friends and family to talk over the possibilities.

About which rocks can be moved and which we need to climb over.

A few weeks ago a teacher from TN wrote and asked me for the poem about the creek. Like the August poem, it is just a little piece of poem. Never fully developed. Just a little story, a memory to savor like the tongue-burst of backyard, sun-ripened tomatoes.

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