So often I wrestle with being in the moment rather than trying to immobilize it as much as immortalize it. Does a view need me to pull out my camera or just breathe deep and look long? Will I later regret it if I don’t write it down when I only have the feeling left and not the exact words?
Often, I am holding a camera. Often when I listen, I write. Part of me believes it is how I process. Part of me wants to hold fast to what seems important. To be able to look again, consider again, contemplate.
My students know this about me. They are accustomed to me usually having a camera in one hand. “Picture this!” they call. “Can you picture this?” they ask. I don’t know how “picture” in our room became a verb in this way but it has and I find it so charming, that I never correct it. And usually, I oblige and do in fact picture whatever it is they are asking me to capture. Strangely, they rarely ask me to show them the photographs I take. It seems enough to bring worth to their moment or creation just to have me pause and click. They smile and move on.
They also know when I stop in the middle of a lesson and gasp or laugh or just begin to slowly nod that soon I will begin looking around. If I can’t quickly lay hands on paper and pencil, they will leap up to provide it. I scribble down their words and their wisdom so frequently. I have little scraps everywhere. In the pockets of my favourite sweaters, stuffed between pages of the novel we are reading, all over the table where I throw things from the day. Some of these papers I carry from place to place, not quite knowing what to finally do. How to share. What to think. How to let them go. They seem to need to go further from me and out into the world. Some of these words end up here on this blog. Some get pinned to a board. Stuck with a magnet to the old science locker behind my table where I hang my coat and place my things each day.
Children can be wiser than all of us. I walk around my room as if I am on a pebble beach, collecting the stones that catch my eye. Later, I find the perfect spot to place each rock, even if I don’t pick it up for months and months. Even if it sits forever in a jar, I know it is there.
I have been walking around with one little yellow note for weeks. On it I have written the words of a seven year old boy in my room said during our weekly gratitude circle. Today, I put them here. To share with you.
“I am grateful for stuff we need. And respect. And family.”
Because you didn’t hear him speak, you missed the silence all around him. The depth of his voice. How he held so much space. How he seemed older than anyone for one large and profound moment.
Now I can fold away the yellow paper. I have shared this moment, beyond our room, beyond me. I have placed this smooth stone on a shelf. I know where it is if I need it.
I am participating in the Slice of Life challenge to write and publish a post every day in March.
Slice of Life is hosted by Two Writing Teachers. I thank them for the community they provide. Read more slices here.