By Mary Oliver
Angels are wonderful but they are so, well, aloof.
It's what I sense in the mud and the roots of the
trees, or the well, or the barn, or the rock with
its citron map of lichen that halts my feet and
makes my eyes flare, feeling the presence of some
spirit, some small god, who abides there.
If I were a perfect person, I would be bowing
I'm not, though I pause wherever I feel this
holiness, which is why I'm often so late coming
back from wherever I went.
Winter Break is a time for the gathering of one's tribe, breaking bread together and giving thanks. The first two items on that list have been well accomplished and I am left with a deep need to give thanks to those who have helped teach, inspire and support me, my classroom and my students.
Thank you to the amazing folks that I work with here at North Shore Elementary. I stopped in today, thinking I'd fill the bird feeders and water my tree along with straightening up my classroom after flying out the door on December 19th. As it turns out, the bird feeders were full and a retired Christmas tree was placed nearby, giving my birds not only food, but a place to roost between feedings. Thank you Bob! And thank you for taking time to fill the feeders during school hours with my students. Thank you Teresa, for making Gingerbread cookies with my students and I. Just when I was thinking, "How can I possible roll out cookies, watch the oven and frost cookies with my entire class!?" you stopped by to tell me you had extra time and if I needed help, you'd be there. You saved the day (and my sanity). In the scattering of papers left on my desk, I found a Christmas card from a fellow teacher and friend. She wrote, "Keep on being the awesome teacher you are!" Thank you Jill! Your words lit up my day and your support means more than you know! Walking into my classroom today, the floors had been cleaned, the desks washed, the tree watered and the boards cleaned. Thank you Girard and Mike! You make this school shine over and over again. Girard has even become a faithful caregiver to Harold, my messy, hungry, ornery green iguana. He and Harold are now on friendly terms (as friendly as Harold can be). Thank you. You both go above and beyond to help and support me and North Shore. I would be remiss, if I did not mention Tech Support. Listy and Pete have been amazingly supportive as I fumble my way into chromebooks, user names, google accounts, kidblogs, Google Teacher and various apps. . . to name just a few. And when things go south with my computer, projection camera or other devices . . . Sam is always there to troubleshoot and fix things that I know nothing of. . . Thank you Tech Support! I can't forget the many students who trust and believe in me, more than I believe in me, and the parents who nurture and support their kids and myself. Over the few years that I've worked in this building, I have been blessed with friendships and kindness I haven't earned. Many people have not only supported my teaching, but have supported me. Thank you friends and colleagues, too many to name. I need to also thank the many folks, again I couldn't begin to name them all, who have helped with the Outdoor Learning Center; Boy Scout troops, Eagle Scouts, Master Gardeners, Sign-builders, trail-blazers, bulb donators, outdoor educators and enthusiasts . . . A special note of thanks to Russ and Ilse who have generously and consistently brought the love of birds and butterflies to hundreds of students here at North Shore Elementary. It's really amazing to think of the generosity my students and I have received. Thank you. Here's what happens when I begin to think of those who have helped me along the way in this amazingly challenging educational career . . . I realize there are too many people to name and I have left many out. Forgive me. I am certainly imperfect.
Perhaps I should have started by thanking my family, who have inspired me to become a teacher and who look through rose colored glasses to see me as better than I am. I am thankful for their generosity of love. Finally, I thank the woods and trails, the birds and butterflies that inspire me and all of us everyday. They are the background of our lives without which our lives would be greatly diminished. "If I were a perfect person, I would be bowing continuously."
Many thanks to all and here's wishing you a very Happy New Year!