Tuesday, January 4, 2011

De Clutter

The new year begins at last with my pink room clutter free and portions of the house the same. Clutter is a huge issue in my brain, my soul, my home, and in my creative process. I allow it to get in my way. It stops me from writing, playing, reading, and other adventures I seek.
I do wonder why? Why do I seek to clean and sort when I could be creating? I can think of several reasons: I love to check off a completed task, no matter how simple; I enjoy closure; I like the physical experience of work and reward; My eyes need to see the simple beauty in this world. I know there is some theory that talks about the need to finish easy doable tasks rather than climbing the mountains. For me, at least, there will always be a mountain range of climbing.
I vividly remember one experience in teaching in which clutter stopped me in my tracks. It was the first day back for teachers on a hot August morning. I was returning to a classroom without windows, with nights and weekends lost for ten months to grading papers, but luckily, the days would be filled with intelligent, inspiring, energetic, and delightful seventh graders. Instead of pacing myself that morning to get the bed made, dressed, make up applied, or fixing a breakfast that's not overcooked, I stood in my bathroom and soaked then washed my jewelry. Yes, it was dirty, but it had been all summer. Just like that I checked it off my mental to do list and life was brilliant for a moment. Breakfast was not. I arrived at school with not a moment to greet friends or leisurely enjoy the moment. Within three days though I was back in the swing and climbing a new mountain with a goal of improving the reading and writing skills of willing students.
Upon reflection I can see that each year of my career in education I climbed a different mountain, with different paths, different kids, and often different settings. I liked it that way. Lesson plans were always new and fresh which kept me intrigued and eager to teach. Along with each mountain came piles of books, papers, and learning. I suppose in the end I was always the one to learn the most about life, perceptions, and learning.
One evening on facebook I received a friend request from a student I had in the 70's. He refreshed my memory by saying how much he enjoyed those experiences in the storytelling bubble. So my mind wondered through the faces and lives of every child I may have touched in Greensburg. Yes, there were mountains in Greensburg, some real, some imagined. From every path on every mountain I have highlights, delights, scenic sights, but no dead ends. One brief note from a "friend" can send my mind searching for that face, that encounter, the laughter, or sometimes even the books we may have shared. What fun to have taught children and been involved in books and learning ALL of my life.
And now a new year is upon me. I think I've said goodbye to the classroom, but not to children or learning. I 'm a Youth Friend now; involved with numerous book clubs; always learning technology through my Blackberry and computer; exercising my body and brain; and have dreams of developing a writing club.
Today's been good. I can honestly check off a written thought. So now I'm back where I started, but I've decluttered some wondering thoughts and composed a simple story.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading this posting. It's nice to know you appreciate long-ago acquaintences. I too often think I (or my family) am "in the way". For some reason it's hard to think of people actually glad to hear from us or even remember me/us. Silly--isn't it.
    But on to books and history :) some of my favorite topics! I did get to "sub" for my boss--the head librarian at our school--are read for the 5th graders and 6th graders one day after Christmas break. For the 6th graders I was blessed to read part of The Island of the Blue Dolphins. Before I read I talked about how you, that time in life, and that event (listening to you read that book) opened up a whole new world for me. I'm not even sure exactly what I would say that world was, but it definitely had to do with reading and libraries. I also told them about the reading bubble--and now they want one. :) But that was a fun afternoon. Just reading to a group of kids who enjoyed what they listened to. (And just for completion purposes, the 5th grade listened to part of Hatchet by Gary Paulson.)
    So, thanks for the memories. :)