Wednesday, September 16, 2009

i keep looking back


when i think back to summer
i remember the glorious
realignment of my priorities.
the gradual revibration of myself
in relation to my family.

and most especially,
the opportunity to remember myself.

there's a quality of sacrifice that goes with good teaching.

sacrifice contains internal movement
that recognizes a giving up.
of something.
or somethings.

if you choose it consciously
and without condition.
then my understanding is that good things
come your way.
eventually.
karma is one name i know this by.

the kicker is that
it is usually
made up of what you need,
and not
(as mick jagger so ruefully explained)
what you want.

so as the summer recedes into my memory experience
i feel a wistful sort of distance.

but i still feel its gifts deep inside myself.

issa knew the sensation of distance.

'till your clothes can barely be
seen in the distance, my love,
I keep looking back at your house.

i love the summer for its letting me be.
so yes.
when it draws to a close
i look back
'till its "clothes can barely be seen in the distance".

and say
thankyou summer.
for everything.

34 comments:

Dan Gurney said...

Lovely. The transition from summer to school is always effortful for me, even after 29 times. I'm no less me when teaching and I am just as happy in my teaching incarnation.

What I miss most when school begins is the spaciousness of time, the slower pace. I imagine that you miss the contemplative nature of summer, too. And I imagine, too, that the rewards of teaching fill you up with so much joy it just spills out in laughter, smiles, and song.

Delwyn said...

Hello Steven

It sounds as if reality has hit home and you see a long year ahead of you until you have the joys of another summer..Have you thought of bringing a little summer into the school year...is it possible to do both, teach well and have family and you times...

Happy days

Amy said...

Your posts always leave me wanting to let out a big sigh. What an absolutley lovely post. I feel the same way about Autumn. It's all joy and melancholy wrapped up together.

NanU said...

Thank goodness for the summer. a time to reset, a time to relax, a time to charge the solar batteries that will keep us going through the long, coffee-soaked winter.
And thank goodness for teachers who do give their all. I try, but I know I don't get there. Yet. Here comes another chance...

steven said...

hi dan - in my room and later on when i share the tales of my class there's laughter, smiles, and i do sing in my room - randomly selected tunes that mysify the kids until they think about it and then ... aha!!!! most of all i miss the chance to be contemplative to the degree i can be in the summer. thanks for thevisit dan and i hope your school year continues to unfold in goodness for you. steven

steven said...

hi delwyn - oh yes we do try. my wife's a principal and so we are both immersed in the work. our children know this and see the changes in us and our relationships but they accept it much better than we do. we both love our work and bring honour to the privilege. thanks for the supportive comment. have a peaceful evening by the river. steven

steven said...

ahhhh amy - that's it - joy and melancoly all wrapped up together..... i could have written a shorter post by simply stating that!!!! have a lovely day. steven

steven said...

hi nanu - my tan's fading as well!!! . . . . . . . boooo hoooo!!!!! it's all good and at the end of the day, year whatever, i'm really glad that this is what i do. i hope i didn't read as unhappy because i most certainly am not!!!! i just love the openness and freedom and gentleness of the summer and yet i also love the other opennness and freedom that teaching offers. it's such a conundrum. have a peaceful day. steven

Golden West said...

Happily, (for the kids and the teachers) the school year is sprinkled with holidays and breaks! What amazes me is how much faster time goes by the older I get...

willow said...

Oh, this is an N.C. Wyeth sky!

You are going to reap the benefits of good karma 100 fold, Steven.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Steven; I love how you honour the feelings that arise in you - so important to value even our regret, our wistfulness, our longing. Like you, I have been silently expressing my gratitude to summer and the gifts it bestowed. But, I don't spend a lot of time there - because the next season's gifts have arrived!
How blessed we are.

A Cuban In London said...

That's a lovely paean to the end of summer. It was a pleasure to read it.

Greetings from London.

Reya Mellicker said...

You seemed to have had a wonderful summer, and now you can share all the bounty of recovered you-ness with your students. They are SO lucky!!

xx

Reya Mellicker said...

p.s. I love the word "conundrum."

ellen abbott said...

Beautiful sky photo steven. I always mourn the loss of summer too. Something about the fall air.

NanU said...

no, no, you don't read as unhappy at all. that must have been me, very sad to see the summer go and the clouds & rain set in. In just the past few weeks, I've gone from getting up in sunlight to getting out of bed in the dark on weekdays, and it's always hard to adjust to that.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes steven - a good teacher is a great asset to any school and you sound to me to be a very good one. But it is always wise to remember that you need that summer break to take stock and recharge the batteries (I know, I have been there).

Titus said...

hi steven, I guiltily have to say that sometimes I am glad of the return to school and university as some semblance of order then begins to re-establish itself in our house. Loved the dropped-in Stones reference.
Best wishes, and luckily we live in a cyclical universe.

Bee said...

I see this with my husband too. I got used to him being more "present" (physically AND mentally) over the summer, and now he is already tired and abstracted.

Teaching is THE BEST, but it can suck you dry emotionally. Take care, Steven.

Margaret Pangert said...

Hi Steven~ It seems as though you as an individual and you as a teacher are both playing out your karma. You give so much and give up so much that that will be reflected not only in your karma but also in the karma (your effect)of your students which you won't be able to see for another 20 years or so. You can relax in knowing that that good karma will come back to you and your students.

steven said...

hi golden west - that's so true - i remember my first summer off it came close to being the slowest, laziest summer of my life. summer's now pass by in a beautiful slurry blur - the school year's are over in a quick slowness that's hard to characterize other than like being good and drunk and losing all sense of time while being entirely cognizant of the good feeling!! have a peaceful eveing. steven

steven said...

there y'are willow!!! thanks for the good wishes. steven

steven said...

hi bonnie - i'm moving into this moment becoming very slowly but this morning when it was three degrees outside - three!!! - i realized that i'd better wear my long riding pants and not my shorts ' cause the next season's gifts include cold breath-like-smoke air!!! thanks for the lovely comment bonnie. steven

steven said...

hey cuban - you and i cross paths all over the bloggymap and now it's time to tighten that connection. i'll nip over later and spend time in your little part of the world. thanks so much for your nice comment and especially for just dropping by!!! steven

steven said...

hi reya - i love seeing my kids eyes light up when i bring some of my self - some uniexpected random part of my slef right out in the open and they get it and i can see in their eyes the "oh yeah" of recognition that they thought was maybe not alright but hey it sure as heck is in my classroom. i produce artists and poets and musicians and playwrights and wrestlers and teachers and archaeologists and runners and moms and dads and they all come back and visit with their gifts - the ones they have received and the ones they are giving. the biggest joy of all!!!!!! have a lovely dc evening. steven

steven said...

reya - conundrum rolls from the base of the throat and into the chest rolls around the tummy and out the mouth. it's a wickedgood word to be sure!!!! steven

steven said...

hi ellen, mmm hmmm there's mourning and there's joy. it's so mixed up it's hard to plant my feet firmly anywhere but that's the nature of the transition. i love the freedom of the summer warmth and i love the cuddle up beauty of the autumn just as well. have a lovely evening. steven

√ Abraham Lincoln said...

I always think of summer as a prelude to fall and winter when the seeds for the following year are planted and growing. I like the piece you wrote and also the sky photo. And thanks for telling me about your heritage and how it differs from the bastards we hear so much about.

One of my ancestors is in the Book of the Dead whatever that counts for. lol

Thanks for your visit and comment.

jinksy said...

'till your clothes can barely be
seen in the distance, my love'

What a beautiful picture this draws. I do enjoy these little gems your posts set within their golden selves.

steven said...

hi abe - that's cool to have an ancestor in the book of the dead. i like the idea of seeds being planted - i'm watching the weeds - who are wiser than wise, as they have lowered their dry heads to the ground depositing my next year's worth of weed pulling right before my eyes!!!! have a peaceful evening abe. steven

steven said...

hi jinksy!!! it's those little moments that crop up inside people's posts that really make me excited as well. thanks for visiting and leaving such a lovely comment. steven

steven said...

hi weaver, i sometimes wonder if the recharging was done on a work for eight weeks recharge for two weeks basis if there'd be more balance to that whole process? have a lovely evening in the dale. steven

steven said...

hi titus - a semblance of order returns to this house also!!! i thrive on the "disorder"!!!!! so do my kids!!! lovely to see you titus. have a peaceful evening. steven

steven said...

hi bee! so you get it!!! ha!! it's a really careful tight wire act - hanging onto your spirit and emotional health. i'm already physically tired, but my spirit is in good shape. so i'll take that for now!!! i'm really glad you could drop by. take care. steven