Saturday, November 1, 2014


Where to begin? I was clobbered but now I'm not.  Shall I back up to Thursday afternoon when, during 7th hour, my principal told me I would be headed to a conference on Friday? Or shall I begin at Thursday night when, around eleven o'clock, I sent a giant editing job OFF my desk and to the inbox of its rightful owner? Perhaps Friday is a better starting point.  Friday morning I went to the conference (praying that the poor substitute stuck with my chaotic lesson plans wasn't cursing me too badly when they learned I wanted the kids to "Twitter the Shrew" hours 1, 3, 5 and 6) and discovered three things.  1) Lunch was catered by Panera.  I never eat fancy fast food, it was a treat.  (Bonus, I had lunch with a lovely woman who has just finished her first novel and we talked about teaching and writing and people we both knew.)  2) The information presented was RELEVANT and USEFUL and WONDERFUL.  So much so that I texted my principal and thanked him for making me go.  3) I also got some practical ideas for implementing More Socratic Method in my classroom.  (Kind of like "More Cowbell" but even cooler.)
More Socrates! Ask those probing questions, make those seniors THINK!

This was good stuff.  But then things got better.  The drive to the conference was gorgeous--all hills, valleys, changing fall colors and scenic farm fields.  The instructor suggested a half hour lunch break so we could leave earlier at the end of the day.  My children had a satisfying go at trick-or-treating despite a serious breach of tradition this year.  Happyland High won the playoff game.

I should have bought some lottery tickets, right?

This morning Mr. G had a basketball tournament, but took a seat on the bench during the second game because he couldn't breathe.  After the game (and he has a good coach, who made sure he had water and let him sit out the rest of the game), I called the doctor's office and got him in immediately.  Bronchitis.  One Z-pack from the drugstore drive-thru later, the poor kiddo was wrapped in my pink snuggie playing Madden 12 while coughing up his left lung.

I hope the sickness ends with him and Mr. G is grateful he doesn't have ebola.  Funny kid. But because he got sick and we came home early from basketball, my floor got swept, the laundry got washed, Mr. D's birthday cake got baked and frosted and I read 150 blog posts in my Feedly reader.

This was all enormously fulfilling but then I took a walk in the woods this afternoon.

It's so quiet now.  Frost has silenced the crickets and frogs.  Birds call, but no longer sing. A woodpecker steadily drums against a dead tree.  Leaves rustle.  The greenest thing I can find is moss growing on fallen logs.  I can see everything now that the leaves have dropped.  The landscape is branches and the spiky twigs of summer's nettle.  Spring's promise and summer's richness covers the ground in layers of dead leaves and seed pods.  A lone deer picks its way past on the other side of the creek.

The peace of the afternoon as the sun lowers is what I crave.  Even the creek moves slowly, barely a surface ripple, the faintest trickle if you strain to hear it.  I admire a hollow tree trunk, the mixture of red and yellow and brown leaves across the paths, the clean curve of a hanging vine and the deep prints left behind in the wet earth.  Everything is in plain sight now after the frost and a windstorm, there's no mystery in the woods, just a deep settling-in sort of sigh before winter tucks it in for a long sleep. 

Fall is not my favorite time of year, but my favorite place reflects its beauty.  I crash through the dried brush, stomped over the dying field grass and returned home, my face ruddy from cold and my spirit refreshed.

Spill it, reader.  Where have you felt a break lately?


  1. I love your writing. I can see and feel the woods and the fall time of year. Thanks for that.

  2. Wow, those last three paragraphs when you fall away from the Busy...that's gorgeous stuff, my friend. I love the change of gears.

    You left a comment about teaching on my blog earlier, and I want to make sure I thank you LOUDLY and directly for the empathy and understanding. Everything you articulated was so great!

    Now rest, lady. Rest.

  3. I've been sitting in the back yard for a few minutes every couple of hours. we have a new dog that needs to be outside and running as much as possible and he has gotten me outside more. which is a good thing.

  4. Hope Mr. G is feeling better, and the rest of you stay well!

  5. I'm glad you got a break, but I'm sorry your son is sick. :(

  6. That is a wonderful description of the season, and it's changes. We had that same windstorm here, and it's amazing how the trees went from fall to winter, overnight.

    I'm glad you are surviving, and even enjoying, what your new busyness is bringing to your life.

  7. I had a small break at the beach this weekend. It was glorious.

    Also glorious? Those last 3 paragraphs up there. Such splendid writing. Thanks for taking me back "up north."

  8. We had a break in the weather and finally got rain.

  9. Love the update about the upswing. Your description of your walk proves your love of Fall and gift with words.

  10. My girls are in the midst of a 4-day weekend. The break from school has been blissful.

  11. Your description of the woods is beyond gorgeous. I could hear the sounds of silence and smell the air. Just lovely.
    Now may the sickness end with good meds and no spreading through the family!

    I went on a quilting retreat over the weekend which was a mix of busy and restful, and on Friday I will be flying to Arizona to visit my dad for the weekend. That proved to be a good break last year, so I am hopeful for a repeat.

  12. Wow. What a gorgeous post.
    And life is restored. All is as it should be. Fantastic!
    So glad you got the recharge you needed and I hope Mr. G is all healed up now.


Spill it, reader.