Inspired by Jess’s slice Glitter, as well as Amanda’s Haiku Moments, I took the time this week to play around with syllables and craft them into Haikus. I love when writing invites play and discovery. Thank you to Jess (and Wren) and Amanda for inviting me to play.
I had plans. We all had plans. “The Covid” changed those plans.
I thought I’d be celebrating my July birthday in Music City with family and friends. That was clearly not meant to be. It was, however, replaced with what was meant to be.
I woke up Saturday morning. Grace, Hannah, and Megan were sound asleep. Billy and I snuck out of the room and headed up for coffee. The resort was quiet and provided us with a serene view of the water at low tide. We sipped and talked. We talked and sipped. We watched a fair weather cloud roll in erasing a small island from our picturesque view.
We had spent Friday night at a nearby resort to celebrate my birthday. It was a last minute call by my husband who had been struggling to find the “right” way to celebrate a milestone birthday in a pandemic. Everything about the day was simple, and dare I say, perfect. Kayaking, SUPing, eating, general family shenanigans.
After an hour of chatting and solving the worlds problems over coffee, Billy and I made our way back to our room. We snuck in and found Megan awake, poking around in the dark. We made our way to our little deck. We watched as the resort slowly came to life. We watched people wading in shallow waters searching for low tide life. Before we knew it, we found ourselves answering the call of the low tide.
We made our way down the beach, into the water, feeling the ripply soft sand beneath our feet. We waded in ankle deep water, heads bent, admiring the crabs and snails. We made our way to a patch of exposed sand. I led the way, Megan and Billy wading behind me. With each step, I could see something had been written in the sand. Curiosity drew me closer. I looked down and I was an awe at the number someone, a stranger, had written so clearly in the sand.
“The Covid” may have changed my plans for my milestone birthday, but as I bent down to have Megan take my picture, I knew I was right where I was meant to be.
“What’s Maci barking at, Megan?” Maci is not a barker. She’s not a big dog. Yet every now and then, she lets out her big dog bark.
“It’s Nolan, Mom! Nolan is running around in our yard and Sam is chasing him. He’s so cute, Mom.” Megan is always taken by the cuteness of 18 month old Nolan out and about in the neighborhood.
Maci lets out a few more big dog barks and I head to the front door to check out the scene.
As soon as I see Nolan, waddle-running around, I reach to unlock the door so Maci can get out and play. Maci heads straight to Nolan. He stops and points his chubby fingers and Maci’s tail waves in the air like a feather duster.
Megan follows us and there on the front lawn a small spontaneous socially distant gathering has commenced. We play with Nolan, entertaining him with chalk and soccer balls. Our efforts hold Nolan’s attention for about 30 seconds, then he’s off waddle-running on those 18 month old legs. Megan’s right, he is so cute.
Moments later, Eileen and Chris, walking Forest, appear around the corner and then they, too join the front lawn gathering. Billy hears the conversation and random screams out of one 18 month old and he halts his work and joins.
Despite the late morning heat, no one was in a rush to go anywhere, except maybe Forest who stared at Eileen, with eyes urging her to get back to the walk and Nolan who insisted on having Sam chase him down, repeatedly.
Yes, there on my front lawn, was neighborly living at its’ finest.
For the past three or four summers, I’ve had the pleasure of getting together with colleagues for our summer writing group, Teachers Who Write. This summer, respecting “The C,ovid”, as well everyone’s comfort level, we went virtual. Being that many of my colleagues would be home with their own children, Peter, Jess and I decided to extend the invitation to them as well.
Wren, Adi, Rose, Peter, Willow and Avery sat beside their moms at our first meeting. Peter, confidently shared after listening to “Big” Peter share. After hearing “Little” and “Big” Peter share, suddenly, Willow was ready to share. Hearing the voices of the children added innocent energy to our meeting. Their bravery was admirable. I left that first meeting with an unexpected mindset of possibilities for future meetings.
As I pulled up Zoom for our second meeting, I wondered what kids would show up? I felt a wide smile appear on my face when I saw, Wren, Adi, Willow, Hannah and Avery on my screen. There they were, notebooks and pens in hand, ready to listen, think and write.
The next 20ish minutes were spent making lists as a warm up followed by independent writing with invitations for all ages. We ended, as writers do, by sharing. The voices and stories of my colleagues and their kids began to fill me.
Jess M shared how her fence is “patrolled by Tucker”, Denia’s piece was about how she flipped through a book of pictures and she found herself “flipping through time”. After hearing her Mom share, Willow raised her hand. Denia read her daughter’s piece (see below). I watched as Willow listened to her Mom go public with her writing – “we just have a blow up pool but it is still deep enough to keep us cool”. I saw Wren’s brave hand rise. She was ready so share (see below). “My cousin Maverick was here, me and Mav like to play on the trampoline.” Hannah whispered to Kristen. She, too, was ready to hear her Peter shared about his garden and the structure that contains the garden. He shared “garden is thriving but the structure is showing its’ age”. He described some plants as “climbing, competing for the sun.”
I couldn’t help but be in awe to be part of this multiage group of writers. Here I was, not only learning more about my colleagues through their writing, but also getting to know their kids through their own writing!
With all that is going on in our communities, our country, and our world, I can’t help but be grounded by the time I get to spend with my colleagues and their kids. There is power in coming together to write, find stories, pull up memories, harvest ideas, and share. When people of all ages come together in the name of writing we can’t help but connect and be a little bit better.