Wild Dog Dancing

I’m writing to break the silence.

For the past three months I’ve spent my mornings with eighth graders, in a classroom where silence was a virtue. My students were good kids and they taught me a lot (mostly about what not to do—lessons I often learned after the fact), and my experience in room 19 was one I won’t forget…but I’m glad it’s a memory now. At the moment, I’m home for a two-week break before I head back to eleventh grade, and I am soaking in the R &R.    

On Christmas Eve I turned the music up high and danced in the kitchen with my dog. Everyone else was in different parts of the house and when the song ended our moves left us both panting. I faced her with my hands on my knees and realized that I hadn’t laughed like that since Thanksgiving. A month is too long that kind of quietness. Often, I find that the things that tire me also give me energy that extends beyond the fatigue; and so, we danced another before I had to change out of my sweat pants and into Christmas dinner finery.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

My favorite poet, Mary Oliver, gave me this question to ask from The Summer Day, as well as another at the very end of her poem, which I will ask of you now:

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?



One Comment Add yours

  1. Marie says:

    i love the poem!

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