I wasn’t sure what I would write about today. Or if I would write. I was in a bit of a mood yesterday–one of those moods that’s hard to shake, not easy to pin down, but casts a long shadow. Usually I try to whip up a rough draft for Tuesday’s slice on Monday night. Then I fine tune and post in the morning. I’d had a wonderful poetry celebration in my class yesterday and my students are truly jazzed about poetry. I knew I could write about that. I could even share some of their poetry. But I was in a mood.
I got home last night a bit early after racing around in a downpour, running errands. I had a raging headache. At 6:15 I got into bed. Yes, 6:15. I was asleep before 7:00. When I woke up at about 1:30 am, my mind started racing about, touching on all the things undone or half done or even poorly done. Apparently the mood still lurked. Already, I could sense the flavor of the day. After tossing and turning for a bit, I elected to get up. Perhaps I could get some work done and then tuck in a two hour nap a bit later in the morning.
I puttered around a bit, making coffee, changing over the laundry and finally sat down at my computer. I opened up my e-mail and noticed a note from a parent who had attended yesterday’s celebration. Oh, I thought, how nice, he’s probably written to say that he enjoyed the poetry celebration yesterday. I clicked and read. As it turns out, he was, but there was so much more.
I’m struck by the power of language–both poetic and everyday–to unite, to build, to celebrate. So often in today’s world, language is used to denigrate, to destroy. But this parent celebrated the gift of language with his family and then again, through his letter, with me. He truly recognizes the power of words and poetry, but I wonder if he realizes how far the ripples will carry from his e-mail. How I will carry both these words and my image of his family with me. How they will remind me that our work as teachers may bear fruit at unexpected times, many unknown to us. I will carry his words with me, not just today, but on other days. And perhaps on one of those days when a mood lingers and taints, his words will drift back and shift that mood. It certainly has today.