Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Next Big Adventure

Though I don't remember it, my parents tell me I learned to walk
by holding one end of a large wooden spoon, my
dad held the other end
and one day he let go
and off I went still holding onto my
end of the spoon, free as a bird but
totally unaware.

I suppose learning to walk is
the first big adventure,
the one that enables
so many others:
jumping and of course,
to so many new places
a grounded infant could not even imagine.

I do not remember learning to read,
though I recall singing songs about
Mr. A, Mr. B, Misters C, D, Miss E
and so many
letters chaotically
racing each other to the top
of the coconut tree
with disastrous results

and a while later, Mr. Popper's Penguins, and
still later, Where the Red Fern Grows
then the Hardy Boys, and a trip through the wardrobe
the unflinching integrity of Atticus,
the burdensome guilt of Raskolnikov,
the overwhelming grace that changed the heart
of an ex-con named Jean Valjean

Learning to read
was the next big adventure,
opening the portal to so
many others, to
walk around in someone
else's shoes
again, and again
and again

I suppose that college
was the next big adventure
as I left my parents' home,
and in the 7 years since,
I have not
returned long enough
to fully unpack
my suitcase

and I went to
strange new places
like Iowa,
with road-trips
in both directions,
from sea to
shining... well, you understand--
through so many states
and even
a few provinces

At college I learned about the
and dreamed of crossing the ocean,
the wide world in front of me
but just out of reach,
the destination of the next big adventure

which began when
I started my career as a teacher
with prep and grading,
curriculum and instruction,
figuring out through
trial and error
just who I was and
who I wanted to be
in the classroom
and in life.

Learning to be a teacher,
a guide, a coach, a mentor,
an adult,
one who is responsible,
one who pays taxes,
who pays the rent,
who manages a classroom,
and gives grades
and makes difficult decisions

and though
I am still learning how
be a teacher,
how to be an adult,
I cannot help but think
that I am
ready for the next big adventure,
whatever that may be.

Father, I am
ready for you
to let go of the spoon
and we'll just see
what happens

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