Keith said something today that sounded like a poem. I wanted to write it down so I wouldn’t forget.
Last month I wrote a Slice of Life about reading, how I had been neglecting it, and I asked for recommendations for my next read. I got some great suggestions, most of which I had not read yet. I went to my public library online, and checked out Goldfinch first, which Fran Haley had suggested.
I loved this sad and suspenseful book that had characters I will never forget. It was really difficult to put the book down, and I would read in bed for too long each evening, until my eyes glazed over or I fell asleep. However, I’m a slow reader, and this book was 750ish pages, so I had to renew it. Then yesterday I had to have a cataract removed from my eye, and I still had about 3 hours left to finish the book. When I got home, while my eye was still patched, I finished reading it. One eye closed under the patch, and the font size enlarged for my other lone eye.
Today I checked out my next book, this one on audio so I can rest my eyes the next few days and do more listening. Thanks to Lakshmi’s idea of listening to classics on audio, I checked out Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky.
I wrote a sevenling poem about Goldfinch; the sevenling form I learned about last month from Tammi Belko. She sometimes has her students write sevenlings after they finish reading a novel, so I did that today too. You can read more about the sevenling form here at her post at Ethical ELA.
Theo Decker loved his mother and then Pippa,
he experienced hell, and he and Boris tried to escape
this life by flying too close to the sun.
He didn’t want to forget his mother,
to have stolen the painting, and
then to have disappointed Hobie.
He was too young for all the catastrophe.
I’m not usually a great patient, so I probably read and wrote too much today. I will go add some drops to my eye and rest it now.
Wow, here we are and another summer gone. School started for teachers this week, and I am officially just a volunteer for four more months, when we will leave the country. Though I have spent a few hours at school this week for some meetings, helping with curriculum questions, and searching for books, I am no longer employed. It has been a long and weird transition of leadership due to the pandemic and a whole year of mostly-online learning. Now we are transitioning to mostly in-person learning (knock on wood), and there were some things the new coordinator never saw or needed to do last year. I am glad I was still around to help her sort those out.
Anyway, summer is gone. I looked back at a July post where I wrote many of my goals for the weeks of summer, a summer spent here in Bahrain in the thickness of heat and humidity. Looking back, I can say it was a productive and happy summer. I definitely accomplished a lot on my list, with a few items left to carry over for the fall. However, knowing I didn’t have to return to the full-time grind allowed me to have both a relaxed and fruitful summer.
What does summer know?
Time to bud and blossoms showing
Merrily, merrily, life a-rowing
Calm and meditative glowing
What does summer know?
Wide-eyed wonder, newness flowing
Memory-building ripe for stowing
Almost over — attempt at whoa-ing
After reading the comment by Carol (below), I added this poem to an image I took this summer. In this photo of a common beach scene, fishing boats are anchored, for people are resting safely during the heat of the day. If you look off to the right of this photo, across the Arabian Gulf lies Iran, beyond that…Afghanistan, where many people are not resting safely and peacefully right now. I couldn’t help but read my poem again, noticing the privileged tone and all the missing summer pain of pandemics, hurricanes, and displacement. Praying for those in Afghanistan, Louisiana, and all others who are hurting.
Would you believe it, little one?
There is more in your future.
More to enjoy, to embrace, to learn.
A whole world awaits — vast and immeasurable.
For now, you are warm and cozy.
You feel this is all there is–
rocking, swaying with the rhythm
nestled in the glow of her heart.
But you will be disrupted soon.
You will come out kicking,
attempting to make sense of the chaos.
It will take you a lifetime
To realize you can’t make sense
of the chaos.
You weren’t made for…
protesting for freedoms never promised,
distractions from the pain.
But would you believe it, little one?
There is more in your future.
More to enjoy, to embrace, to learn.
A whole other world awaits
Uncluttered thoughts, unfettered hearts,
As inconceivable as this one once was to you
A world being prepared for your full humanity —
vast and immeasurable.
The year was 1992 and my husband was traveling for his job. My children were two and four, and we had been at some friends’ house all day playing with their kids and passing the time. As we were leaving Kevin gave me a book, The Sphere, by Michael Crichton. I have no idea if the book was any good, or if I just needed an adult book and anything would have worked. Perhaps I had mentioned earlier in the day that it had been a long time since I had read a novel, and that is why he gave it to me. Anyway, I brought it home, put the girls to bed, and started reading it. I’m not a super fast reader, but for some reason my brain devoured this science fiction book and I read it until 3:00 a.m., and when I finally turned the last page I went to bed.
Those devouring reading times have come once in a while throughout my life when I have fasted too long from reading. For the past few years of teaching grade 5, my students and I have kept track of our reading. Each year I read 40-60 books. However, the pandemic came and reading became something I neglected. I don’t know why.
However, this month reading is coming back to me, fortunately. I read Clint Smith‘s How the Word is Passed, Winn Collier‘s Holy Curiosity, and yesterday I read most of The Racketeer by John Grisham. It was awful, but mesmerizing. I just had to finish it, kind of like The Sphere all those years ago. It reminded me that I need to find good fiction and start reading again! I need fiction to disengage and relieve stress, stress internalized from the daily news as well as the nonfiction books I’m reading.
Do you have any suggestions for my next adult or young adult fiction book?
Even though it’s a few days before my birthday, I’ve begun to celebrate. Today my friend took me to my favorite coffee shop for my favorite drink–Kaldi chai. It’s their special recipe of milk tea with spices and lots of ginger. So yummy. She said it was a Friendship Day / Birthday tea party.
Our favorite restaurant is Lumee Street Café. This evening Keith and I went for an early birthday dinner.
Here’s the description of what we ordered (from the downloaded menu still on my phone). The pictures were taken after we had dug in and removed a lot of the yummy stuff.
On the lower left:
Couscous Salad with Grilled Chicken Breast – Spiced couscous, peas, long beans, snow peas, raisins, roast peppers, sun-dried tomato, pomegranate, caramelized onion, grilled chicken breast slices
On the lower right:
Cauliflower Koshari – Steamed cauliflower rice, fire-roasted cauliflower, green lentils, chickpeas, gluten-free spaghetti, onion hamsa, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, spicy daqoos sauce (V, GF)
Then dessert of Pralines and Cream from Baskin-Robbins.
In between I read chapters in the novel Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. Now I’m relaxing and writing this post on my phone before I turn in early to read more in my book.
Fill the well.
A human being.
Human doing can wait awhile.
I’ve had a couple of busy weeks, and today I am relaxing and taking time to be.
One thing I did to start my day, though, was watch a video from Kate Messner for Teacher’s Write. I’m glad I went back to this Week 2 event and watched the recording because I wasn’t able to join for the live event. Authors Linda Sue Park, Linda Urban, Tracey Baptiste and Jen Vincent joined Kate Messner to share specific ways to experience that grace and filling the well of our beings after a difficult year.
It’s Eid Al Adha today, which is one of two of the multi-day Eid holidays in Islam. It’s a commemoration of Ibrahim being willing to sacrifice his son. But a substitutionary animal was provided by God that was used for the sacrifice instead. Today, Muslims will slaughter a lamb or goat and give a third to the poor, a third to a neighbor or relative, and a third will be for their family dinner.
We don’t celebrate Eid, but we do get to have three days off this week. I’m involved in helping to lead a workshop for storytelling four half-days this week, so I’m busy preparing and attending that. However, this morning we took some delicious time to sit in a coffee shop for a flat white and chai latte and take a walk around the mall.