Slice of Life: Day 30

Like a pink petal which draws the honey bee to nectar, so the concrete pilings bring the captain to the center of the passage.  We approach simultaneously: train, water, boat and clouds.

Wind, current, double containers.  All come together at this intersection.

We shoot through the narrow way.

The clacking, metal on metal, is overpowered by waves and Evinrude.

On the other side,  spring, sunshine, freedom.

 

Slice of Life: Day 29

Braking for Cows!

 

On a recent, late winter day we went on a pastoral adventure to find raw milk.  A luxury to us city folk, raw milk is just the anecdote to what ails you right before Lent.  And, with Lent just two days away, we decided an adventure was in order.  Plus, we’d get to see cows!

Down windy roads, soft hills in the distance, trees still bare, we made our way to the dairy.  Grey skies dominated the top half of the horizon, blanketing over any possibility of a sun sighting.  The smell of feed bins and earth permeated the air coming through the sun roof.  Then, somebody saw the sign, “Purple Haze Dairy.. there it is Mom!”

We pulled through the gate and there they were.  Cows!  I eased on the brakes and stopped just a few yards into the farm.

Why do I love cows so much?  Is it because they are gentle in spite of their size?  Is it their often wet noses?  Is it because they are an American icon?  Perhaps all of these reasons and they’re just darn cute.

These happy bovine were happy to see us and came over for a lump of grass and a forehead rub. We petted and visited and laughed as long as the cows were interested.  After about 10 minutes they grew bored with our offerings of day old hay.

Dusk was settling quickly over that country scene so we made our way  to the honor system cooler for a jug of the raw deliciousness.  $6 and worth every dime.

As we walked toward our vehicle, a giant cow pattie reminded us city folk that we are tourists out here.  Farming is hard work!  Then, jug in hand, we climbed into the truck, kicked the mud off our shoes and rode back from whence we came.

Slice of Life: Day 28

Poetry and Water World

After battling almost an hour of traffic, we made it to Metro Academic Studies down in Atlanta.  There is a weird thing where the closer you get to spring break, the worse the traffic gets down in the city.  Folks are either passing through or coming to town in the spring.  That definitely means longer commutes and earlier wake ups.

Thankfully, after coming off the hectic highway, I had my creative writing class to look forward to.  Each writing student had three poetry pieces due today.  On deadline days, we host a read-a-round where every piece goes into a pile at the front of the room.  Each student picks up a piece of writing (not their own), reads it and gives feedback.  I designed a form that requires the peer reader to offer one positive and one constructive comment per piece.  Once the peer reader finishes reading the piece and commenting, he or she then picks up another piece and comments until everyone has read every piece of writing.  This works well because we only have 10 students in the class!  Everybody enjoys the feedback on their papers and they like seeing what their classmates have been up to during workshop time.  It is my favorite activity as well.  I recognize little bits of my students’ lives showing up in their writing: a trip to Florida, a sibling who has left for college, a new family member.  A real time saver for me,  I am usually able to read every student piece during the read-a-round activity.

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It is no secret that kids are fairly wound up the last day of school before a break.  Well, sometime after noon, a giant water main broke next to the school and we could all see the geyser spewing right out the class window!  Funny, I never see anyone look out those windows, except today!  Then, the power went out and the water pressure quit in the building, so many of my students just hung at the windows, admiring and chatting about the watery spectacle.  It was a sight for winter weary eyes.  And, being so close to school getting out and break, it was all fine with me.

Slice of Life: Day 26

An Apology

 

Forgive me…

I left the dishes in the sink,

the laundry on the floor,

and a pile of bills at the door.

 

There’s an iron ready to press your shirt,

Nerf bullets strewn about the stoop,

the chickens have escaped the coop.

 

But, the sound of an approaching rain

brought slumber to my brain.

My head against the pillow,

the patterned drops at my window —

I’ve been dreaming of fields and windy willow.

 

That nap was the one

accomplishment of my day;

do pardon the domestic fray.

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Slice of Life: Day 25

A Double Feast Day!

the blessing of the dates

A feast day is a day on the church calendar that celebrates a major event in the life of Christ or celebrates a major saint in the church.  Today was a double feast day!  It was the feast of Annunciation, the day that the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would conceive a son.  And, it was also the feast of St. Mary of Egypt, a 5th century saint that repented from a life of great sin.  Both of these feasts came together today for a meaningful festival to brighten our Lenten fasting and to remind us that Pascha is just two weeks away.

Annunciation is that special day on March 25, exactly 9 months before Jesus’s birth, that the archangel Gabriel told Mary she would bear a child.  Some churches call this the Feast of the Incarnation.  On this day the fast is mitigated and everyone celebrates with fish and wine.

Lentils and dried dates were also eaten today to commemorate the food that was brought to St. Mary of Egypt by Saint Zosimas.  Zosimas was a priest – monk who lived in a monastery near the Jordan River.  It was the custom of his monastery to spend the entire 40 days of Great Lent in the desert fasting.  While Zosimas was in the desert, he found St. Mary, who told him her life story and asked that he return the following year on Holy Thursday.   When he returned, he brought with him the lentils and dates.

 

Many Orthodox churches read the miraculous story of Saint Mary of Egypt on this day during their services. After the dried fruits are blessed, the congregation eats them in remembrance and celebration.   The celebration of these traditions remind us that many Christians have come before us.  We have many role models in the church to encourage us in our journey.  I always love seeing our young people participating in the services.  They are participating in a tradition that has been celebrated every single year, in multiple countries for more than 1400 years.