Friday, May 8, 2009

Secret Garden

As teachers, we get invited to a lot of banquets--alumni banquets, school supporter banquets, and student-council extravaganzas. It's always difficult to know what to wear to these last ones. Who can afford the kind of prom dresses that disguise how old you have become and how stodgy? So a couple other teachers and I have found our own solution. We play masquerade.
The STUCO banquet this year was themed "Secret Garden", so we dressed as the characters in that book. Our principal was the gardener, his wife, our Spanish teacher, was the dignified housekeeper, and I was a visiting friend. My husband was easily enticed into coming because he just happened to have bought a tuxedo last July. I didn't tell him he would be going with a strangely dressed woman until the last minute. He was embarassed, but suffered with good humor. Ah well. Next year we are going to see if more teachers will join us in theme dressing. (I just hope they don't decide to have a luau. A grass skirt would be out of the question...and so would flowered flip flops...maybe I could be a tourist.) Hmmm.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thirteen Reasons to take a Hike!

1. First of all, look at the adventure. What could be more enticing than a distant mountain top shrouded in fog?

2. Next, It's a good way to teach an object lesson
to a group of active teenagers--
sophomores, to be precise?

3. Looking at still, clear, shady water and tiny,
tangerine, spring flowers clears the mind of winter slush.

4. Learning how to follow instructions and a map;
it's a vital skill!

5. In this forest, I once surprised a baby fawn;
then the mother deer surprised me. I couldn't out
run her, so I froze; they both went flying off
through the trees.

6. Rocky roads make me appreciate the smooth
paths that will come at the end of the hike.

7. Following a trail to somewhere; It leads on and on
and there isn't any question here
whether I'm are on the right path.
It's a safe, sure feeling.

8. For hiking, cloudy days are even better
than sunny ones, and the cool, moist
kiss of spring is a welcome drizzle on my face.

9. Up in this high Mountain meadow, I sometimes see an old buffalo, driven to solitude by the younger, stronger herd leader. He doesn't bother me. I don't bother him. I think, today, he is gone, spooked and hiding from the shrill shouts of the jubilant sophomores who ran ahead of me

10. The only thing loud in these silent woods is the occasional ta-woo ta-woo of a little, brown bird.

ll. Lakes along the path, make for fish and
turtle splashes; wild geese decorate the water
with widening v's.

12. Old dams, build by the CCC in the days of
economic depression, still stand, a testament
to those who worked for their bailouts.

13. As the road nears home, the walking seems
easier. My feet sense rest and sigh.

I've taken this hike for around 18 years now. Oddly enough, I still have to be careful not to get off the track. New growth is confusing in some places. This time, a couple of us got lost once, but we headed for high ground and were able to spot the rest of the group. We also made use of a whistle and a compass. Well, you never know, do you? The sign at the trail head says it's "8 miles" long, but the guidebook says "6 miles". I'm going to be safe and say seven. The Wichita Mountains Buffalo Trail; it's a pleasant morning hike in spring, fall, or winter. Summer? Well, if you have a lot of sunscreen and plenty of water.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Little Slow

A couple of days ago, as I shopped for bread, milk, and orange juice, I ran into an elderly friend who commented on the elementary track meet held at our school the day before.

“I saw your little grandson,” she remarked. “He was running in a race.”
She smiled sweetly, “Cute little guy, kinda slow and a little behind everybody, but it seemed like he was having a lot of fun.”

I smiled sweetly back. She meant well.
But what I wanted to do was scream.
Why the silly track meets anyway? He’s in pre-school, for Heaven’s sake!

Must it all begin so early, this idolizing of competitive athletic prowess?
Does it even matter that he knows capitals, and can locate their countries on a map, that he can tell you about the four moons of Jupiter, even name them? He’s reading fourth-grade books for fun and is fascinated by how the body systems work. Everyone else is learning their numbers and beginning to sound out hat and mat. He sits through boring days at pre-school, coloring pictures that go with the letter K, while he imagines his own world on dwarf, twin planets that orbit the star Alexandra in a galaxy called Ellipse

“He’s a little slow,” she said.
I guess it’s a good thing he doesn’t realize it yet.