For over 20 years each morning when I wake up I write. I never try to write well. What’s most important is the presence, the showing up, the writing down whatever the morning delivers. I’m an early riser. I love to watch the moonlight transform to sunlight, witnessing the start to a new day. Months ago I shifted my journal writing to letter writing. It had been enough years of writing to myself. I wanted to expand my audience. That’s when you were born, A. The focus of my daily commitment to write became a letter to A. So each morning I begin by writing, Dear A.
There are moments when I see a spiral in everything and other moments when the spiral seems to disappear. If you’ve read my blog before, you may have noticed I often think about learning as a spiral. Life moves, not just in circles or cycles, but in spirals within cycles.
I’m feeling deep and writerly this morning. I see spirals everywhere. This happens when I’m rested. What a blessing a four day weekend can be, especially after particularly busy work weeks. It’s nice to take a moment to reflect and reconnect.
This morning’s sunrise shines on the windows across the street. Birdsong pulls me outside, beyond the glass of my own front window, to feel the cool air settle around me. Frost on the rooftops and the road shimmers as it melts. When the light expands across the sky, the birds sing less and work more, carrying twigs in their beaks or searching for breakfast. Today is Easter Sunday.
What does kindness look like during a pandemic? When I go for walks, neighbours smile, wave, or say hello. At the grocery store, every exchange with a person seems more meaningful than the time before the pandemic. We look each other in the eyes as though to say, I see you, do you see me. Have you noticed the kindness and warmth in your community too?
This morning I finished reading the last 10 pages of Birds, Art, Life by Kyo Maclear. For the last few days, I’ve held onto these pages so the book wouldn’t come to the end. Do you have books that you savour?
Birds and books always catch my attention.
Yesterday I watched two female cardinals and a male cardinal in the apple blossom tree out my front window. Some days it’s crows, cawing first to say hello, I’m here and then performing air acrobats above the tree line. Lately, chickadees peek in the windows, likely wondering why I’m still in the house.
My life stories are writing themselves now. This isn’t an easy time and I feel grateful for what I have. A warm house. Stable income. Delicious food. Loving friends and family. Books to read. Poems to write. A lake nearby that I can walk to. The beauty of winter. Sightings of hawks and geese and crows that remind me we will be okay.
It’s natural to write life stories for ourselves about the way our days and years should go. We write stories about our careers, our relationships, and personal goals. From mapping out each chapter of where we should be and what we should be doing to deciding how our character will grow and change within a set time frame, we are master storytellers.
Lately I’ve been inspired by air. Breath. Space. Sky. Flight. It started with John O’Donohue’s poetry last Spring. I started reading one of his poems every morning as a way to focus my attention for the day. While walking by the lake, I reflected on a line or a theme from his poetry, trying to connect to the world in the way I connected to his words.
Over the break I ordered Disney+ so I could watch ‘The Mandalorian’ and the movie ‘Soul.’ Then I started watching other things. The Maleficent movies. Hamilton again. Mulan. The element of air was prominent in each of them through storylines connected to flight, breath, inspiration, and the use of sky and space. Even the musical Hamilton has a song: Blow Us All Away.
Air is an essential metaphor and element.
Before the winter break, students asked their teachers as they walked out to the buses, “will you be my teacher when I come back?” We all felt the energy in the air shifting from enthusiasm for some holiday time to the worry for how long the holiday would last.
Back to school looks different this month. We return to school at home this morning. Children across the province attend classes online instead of in-person. Teachers wake up to step into their digital classrooms. Parents wonder how they will balance working from home and supervising their children.
We return to routine, yet the routines will be different. We return to learning, yet the learning will require more diligence and perseverance. Change is rarely easy.
Happy New Year! This morning I woke up feeling alive and awake. Beginnings. Natural turning points on our paths. Today is open to be anything. We can connect to every possibility.
Instead of resolutions this year, I’m reflecting on revolutions. Resolutions are firm decisions to do or not do something. When you resolve something, it brings closure or provides an answer, a solution. Typically we make resolutions where we firmly decide we will be healthier or happier or more creative. We decide. We set the intention. And then we feel badly when the river of life carries us around a bend we didn’t predict and the decision we made on January 1st suddenly becomes the residue left behind on the riverbank.