Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Seeing the sky

Tuesdays at Two Writing Teachers!
Driving home, after another challenging day in the midst of a particularly arduous couple of weeks, I suddenly saw the sky. Really saw it.

I don't know what I had been seeing for the first half of the drive home -- mostly my mental to-do list tumbling over a blur of barren trees and leftover snow. But then I climbed a gentle hill, swung around a quiet bend, noticed the song change on the radio, or just raised my eyes a little higher... and somehow, I noticed the sky.

A soft, gray blend of light like muted watercolors, melting into brilliant streaks of yellow and orange. Light, not darkness. The days are stretching themselves toward spring just as the trees stretch toward the sky. Beauty and hope.

It was like waking up from a dismal dream, and I realized how easy it is to trudge through days with such a narrow focus, just like I had for the first half of my drive. Testing, paperwork, meetings, and mandates. Lists that grow longer instead of shorter. Tasks like tentacles that drag me away from the joy of planning and teaching. And if I manage to get my mind off of all that, worries that flit through my head with the annoying whine of mosquitoes. How will I possibly do all of this next year, when I can barely do it now?

But just like on my drive home, if I raise my eyes and clear my mind, I can see the sky:

A fun lunch group full of positive colleagues who miss me and ask about me when I have to eat at a different time due to testing. Students whose faces light up when they walk into my classroom. That glorious moment of intense silence that means they really don't want to stop when I ask them to come to a stopping place in their books. Poignant, vulnerable words from growing writers who have learned that their stories matter. Former students who stop by to say hi, borrow books, and tell me that they were talking together about what a good mom they think I'll be. Supportive, caring administrators who go out of their way to help and encourage me. Precious friends who listen closely, understand, and show they care with smiles, texts, and gifts of their time. And at home, an incredibly sweet husband who takes care of me in so many big and little ways.

When I chose my one little word for this year, I was mostly thinking about my own actions. But I see that it's just as important to notice all the LOVE that surrounds me: always there, full of beauty and hope, just like the sky.


  1. Jennifer,
    This is such a beautiful post and so well written. I wrote about Love today as well. Your post made me want to stop…to take a deep breath and just enjoy the beauty that surrounds me. Your words were so soothing to read. There is so much love around us, we just have to take the time to notice it.
    Thanks for sharing,

  2. You will be surprised at what you will accomplish next year. You are surrounded by love.

  3. This is beautiful! I too love those moments when I look up. "Light, not darkness... Beauty and hope." I don't say it quite so beautifully as you did. Thanks for the moment!

  4. What a wonderful word for this year. Yes, in spite of our snow drifts and banks, the sky was bright orange, and alive a this morning and filled by a bright, light, and empowering moon this evening. There is more to see than the graying piles on the side of the road. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. I'm glad you saw that 'sky'-so much love is going on in your life. Keep remembering! Happy to see a slice from you! Have a great day!

  6. So glad to be reading your words! I will pay a lot more attention to the love around me tomorrow! Hoping that the mom-to-be is doing well!

  7. So glad I happened across your page when I was looking for slice inspiration! I have been really soaking in the negatives lately and getting bogged down by all of the things I have to do. Thank you for reminding me to stop, look, love, and enjoy!!


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