Psalmody: Refuge

The chaotic whirling kaleidoscope of summer has left me feeling a little bit like Dorothy in Oz, waiting to get back to the familiarity and sweetness of my home routines. I have so many things to write about, adventures to recount, and stories to tell . . . but they will all have to wait just a bit longer as I have only just clicked my heels and woken up in my own home at last. It’s quite disorienting, actually.

via

I shall gather up the bits and pieces of my sanity and get back to you all soon enough. In the mean time, for the beautiful new day to come, a Sunday, I’ll leave you with a passage I found in the old Psalmody during one of my past trips home to Ithaca, NY. After re-discovering it recently, I decided it most definitely is fitting to share.

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The Privilege of Teaching: Witnessing Goodness

Today, in class, one of my students who typically is very withdrawn/antisocial did the most incredible thing. No hyperbole. It was truly the sweetest and kindest unsolicited thoughtful act I’ve ever seen someone do. 

Backstory: I have taught this student for years and he has never seemed to connect very well with other classmates, no matter the size of the group. At the school where I teach, quirky students aren’t exactly unusual and the culture is one of general acceptance, but this fellow always struck me as an outlier among a group of outliers. I mean, his classmates like him well enough and are generally nice/tolerant towards him, but his disconnection from peers was concerning. I’ve worried about him over the years I’ve had him in class, but he also is mostly in his own world and has never seemed to mind the disconnect. He’s that guy that is always staring off into the distance and distracted when we’re talking. . .

Story: So today, as we were transitioning from lunch to class-time and kids were filtering into the room, he turned to the three students that were in the room and started talking to them. Now, sometimes, when he does this, it’s kind of like you’re picking up mid-stream-of-thought. As in: he’s already had the 1st half of the conversation in his head and you have to catch up really fast in order to make any sense of what he’s talking about . . . I could tell that the three listeners were expecting that kind of conversation, but instead this happened:

“Hey, so a few days ago in one of my classes, one of my friends was really down on himself about a lot of things, and it got me thinking. I mean, none of my friends see themselves the way I see them, and I wish that they could see all the awesome qualities in themselves the way that I do . . . so I decided to tell people how I see them. So, I wrote you each something.”

He proceeded to give out POEMS to each of the three people he was speaking to . . . and I got to read one (with permission, of course) and OH MY DEAR SWEET LORD IN HEAVEN.

I cannot even begin to do justice to the magnitude of this act in my description; this would have been unbelievably thoughtful coming from ANYONE, but is rendered even more remarkable by this student’s usually-detached nature. I am trying to figure out how on earth I can make you understand the UTTER and complete sweetness of this gesture.  He wrote individualized, BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN, page-long (like 8 stanzas each!), RHYMING poems describing all the unique ways he found his classmates special and about how much they brought to his world with their personalities. He gave SPECIFIC EXAMPLES about ways that they have made his life in school better and applauded different aspects of their specific personality that he appreciates. I MEAN. I CAN’T EVEN ~ 

Suffice it to say: I very nearly cried on the spot.

The poem-recipients were equally as floored and so touched. It clearly made their day, and I was just so thankful for the reminder of how wonderful people can be, even when it is least expected.

I just wanted to share, because observing this whole scenario made me unbelievably happy in my heart.

Surrounded by Beauty!

Have you ever been so overwhelmed by the indescribable beauty you are observing that you get a little sad, because no photo will ever be able to capture the incredible sight before your eyes? Any photo you take or picture you snap will only ever be a pale reflection of the stunning sight before your eyes. The beauty that you witness is not portable. It is at moments like those that I find myself thinking: via

I am going to share with you a few pictures I have taken during moments that took my breath away, in hopes that you will be equally as astounded as I am that photos of such beautiful moments – exquisite though the subject matter is – show just a fraction of the incredible nature of reality. If you can fathom that concept, then you will realize that there is so much beauty around us on a daily basis, so much wonder to behold, that maybe it can serve as a reminder to take advantage of the things we see with our own eyes!

Le Coucher du Soleil  

beauty on the seine

Paris, France

Pathway to Versailles

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le chateau de Versailles, France

The Good Board Walk

boardwalk

Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester, Massachusetts

Le Papillon

butterlies in France

Aix-en-Provence, France

Ciel Du Passé

cieling

le chateau de Versailles, France

Floating

clouds drift

Pine Bush, MA

Senioritis

ferrin field - the view

Ferrin Field, Wenham, Massachusetts

Summer Heat

fire of summer

Beverly, Massachusetts

Wedding Day

 gorgeous sunrise

Geneva, New York

Wishfully Skee Rye Run

grandpa's drive

Pine Bush, Massachusetts

Finals

   nighttime in college

Gordon College, Coy Pond, Wenham, Massachusetts

Cloud Jumping

 puddles in paris

Le Jardin des Tuileries, Paris, France

Lacey Fields

queen anne's lace

Trumansburg, New York

A Covenant Forever

rainbow

Ithaca, New York

Reflections and Changes

reflection

The Lynn Wood, Massachusetts

A Sky on Fire

Sky on fire

Somewhere between Boston and New York…

Clearly

summer sky

The Great Lawn, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts

Ice Over

Home and Ice

Ithaca, New York

Blustery

More France

Somewhere in Haute Savoie, France

Nostalgia

sunset

Cayuga Lake, Ithaca, New York

Through The Window

France

Aix-en-Provence, France

Driving Home

 the drive home

Somewhere on Rte 227 in New York State

Wild Tigers

tiger lillies

Trumansburg, New York

Glory, A Bus Ride Away

tholonet

Le Tholonet, France

Tulips, One Dog

 tulips and puppies

Beverly, Massachusetts

Farewell, Formally

view from the omni

view from the top of the Omni Parker in Boston, MA

Come Thou Fount

water

somewhere near a metro stop in downtown Boston

Fields of Down

watercolor world

Near Crane’s Beach, Ipswich, Massachusetts

Make a Wish

Wish

Ithaca, New York

On The Front Porch

Home

Ithaca, New York

Traveling Through

Light and Glory

Paris, France