Thursday, October 15, 2009


what is the residue of the past six weeks or so? this is the question that floats through my head this morning...residue, like what you see in the bottom of the coffee cup from a good cup of french press that you maybe ground a little too much or let sit a little too long. Or the residue at the bottom of the water containers my students use when painting-deep syrups of purple and brown.
Birthday residue: two cards propped on the kitchen counter and a shipping box in the recycling bin. Residue of Annie's last visit: wrinkles her bedspread, a necklace from Chicago waiting to be worn. The residue of a busy schedule: shoes and bookbags piling up by the door, dust gathering in the studio, no posts on the blog, no pictures in the camera. Thin ice when you need to create in order to breathe. Thin ice for all of us.
Teaching is hard, and the hardest part for me is to do it from my truest heart. If I don't, I feel dried out, hardened, grey, as we all do when we are merely going through the motions of life and not entering in to the beautiful, complex murkiness of the moment. Of course, there are children who don't accept my invitation to walk down that path, and my sadness in the face of this is palpable. I try not to take it personally. There are others with whom I experience the kind of creative communion that fleshes out my heart and brings the color back to my cheeks. After all, what greater gift can we give one another than the sharing of the things that are truly alive for us-things with a heartbeat, things that warm us and say to us, "yes, that is it! exactly the right red! the right word!"
I am teaching four students this semester who are going to teach kids, and each Wednesday night, I pull some treasures out of my box and share them-tentatively, sometimes, because sharing my heart is so scary, but other times, with such a sense of urgency that I trip over myself. I want them to see the things that warm my heart. I want them to find what will warm theirs and to share with children their stories through their work. It is a holy gift.
The residue of last night's class is curled into the corner of my heart, still sleeping. When we got to our cars at the end, we saw the beauty of the leaf shadow on the car. A shadow we may not have seen had our hearts not been together, encouraging each other to look.


annie hagar said...

mom, this is beautiful. you should seriously look into getting published somehow.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Annie. It's incredibly moving.


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