I've taken a dozen or so walks these past couple of weeks because, when I'm in the valley, sometimes that's all I can do. Walking stabilizes my soul; it depressurizes me.
I've got teacher-y blog posts piling up that I've not emailed to you lately — I'll start sending those out to you again next week, promise — but for today, I just wanted to give you something that a recent walk gave to me. As you go into your weekend, I hope there's something below worth carrying with you.
A couple weeks ago in a patch of prairie near my home, I was walking. School had been cancelled because of ice, and each step of the trail I walked that day was crunchy, slippery, and cold.
As I walked and felt the cold sinking in to me, I started seeing the landscape as it has appeared to me in other seasons. Beneath the ice and within the dormant plants there has been, and will be again, the first shoots of spring, the flourishing of summer, and the quiet, regalness of fall. It was like I was catching a glimpse of all the seasons layered on top of one another. Though appearing lifeless and dead today, this landscape was one of massive and ongoing and time-proven potential.
It is a deep mystery, that the barren winter ground can house the spring and summer and fall.
No matter how wintry your practice has felt this school year, colleague, reflect on how it has also housed the spring. Mastery has grown. Learning has taken place. And connection has done what connection does: alter life trajectories, for the better.
But, as a finite creature fixed in time, you may see none of it right now. We just don't get to see it all. Omniscience is not our place in the cosmos. The closest I've gotten was during that walk in the icy prairie, catching flashing glimpses of those other seasons in the frigid landscape.
It's possible to see no results for months but still to be doing something important.
Actually, it's more than possible.
It's inevitable, like the seasons.
Wishing you a good weekend,
Beautifully put, Dave!
Amanda Adams says
Heaven help me, sometimes I read your stuff and it literally hits me like a 2×4.
“No matter how wintry your practice has felt this school year, colleague, reflect on how it has also housed the spring. Mastery has grown. Learning has taken place. And connection has done what connection does: alter life trajectories, for the better.”
I am not sure about the latter, but I am for SURE about the first part of that statement. “Wintry practice” is a nice way to put it. Year 24 for me and this term was, by far, the hardest. We get a 48 hour breather and then on to our final trimester of the year.
Im feeling overwhelmed, sad and discouraged. The end of the trimester was ugly and a slog (lots of illness, absences and disruptions for weather). Im not sure Ive EVER felt this terrible at my job.
And reading your post, gave me a breath…a moment of understanding. This weekend I will be filling my bucket doing things that will push me through until spring break.
Thanks for the permission to breathe and reflect.
Dave Stuart Jr. says
Amanda, I think experiences like this, when word strike us like 2x4s, are exactly what you’ve said — heaven helping us. I am so grateful to be a part of that.
Let’s keep breathing, you and I.
Karen Keely says
Thank you for this, Dave. I’ve had bouts of wintry practice these last two years, and I appreciate your words of wisdom. Best wishes for spring for you and all of us.
Dave Stuart Jr. says