Tuesday, August 23, 2016

One Meeting Too Many

The coffee pot,
Humbly splattered,
On the wheeled cart in the library
Bears witness to the harried start of the day.
The plastic prong,
On one side of the lid,
Has come unhinged.
We empathize;
But no one takes time to fix it.
We are quick to take seats
at the back tables
Wrapping cold hands
around warm mugs
In air conditioning that works too well today
And not at all tomorrow,
Scrabbling for a loose pen
in the bottom of a book bag,
Pretending to take notes
While making to do lists:
-Turn in lunch forms
- Order electric sharpener
- Put in work order for locker #17...
The only sweet thing
About a mandated morning meeting
Robbing precious minutes
Reviewing old news
We know by heart
Is the jelly donut
Sawed in half
With a plastic knife
That wasn't really cut out for the job
Or even up to the challenge
But showed up anyway
A flimsy plastic miracle.
Proving once again,
The littlest things can make a difference.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Seeing Stones (Part Two)

Last week, I shared a photo of some seeing stones I collected from the banks of Elkhorn Creek.
I was fascinated with the perfect, tidy holes bored through solid rocks. What made the holes?
After quite a bit of research, I discovered the holes were made by piddocks. A piddock is a type of mussel who lives inside angelwing shells. The tiny clam rotates the sharp edges of his shell in order to carve out a tunnel for himself. Safe inside his chiseled burrow, he reaches out to gather all the nutrients he needs. When he abandons his stone house, he leaves it behind for rock hounds or curious teachers!
Although I have not yet caught a glimpse of a magical world or supernatural creature while looking through my seeing stones, I have learned about a world and a creature I never knew existed. That is its own kind of magic!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Seeing Stones (Part One)

A couple weeks ago, my husband, sons, and I rented two kayaks and a canoe and ventured down Elkhorn Creek. I wasn't brave enough to tackle any white water rapids, so we opted for the three-hour "Fun Float." After a 15-minute orientation video, our guide herded us onto an old school bus and drove us a few miles to the access point where we chose our boats, oars, and life jackets and set off downstream.
We took turns paddling the kayaks and canoe; and, although we didn't encounter white water, we did navigate some challenging "riffles" that tipped my younger son right out of his kayak and caused my husband and I to ram the bow of the canoe into a rocky outcropping.
Despite those mishaps, we were having fun on our "Fun Float."
Halfway through the trip, we docked our boats on a pebbly beach, unloaded our small cooler, and sat down to drink some water and eat a few snacks.
An unusual rock caught my eye. It was a chunk of limestone with a neat hole bored right through it. I picked up the rock and showed it off to my husband and sons.
"It's a seeing stone!" I exclaimed. I knocked a clod of dirt off the edge of the rock and held the hole in front of my eye."These are supposed to help you see into magical realms!"
I looked the exact opposite of magical...soaked shorts, frizzled hair, mismatched bathing suit, bulky life vest (still fastened even though I was on shore), and a sunburned nose.
Joey and the boys were too kind to take a picture of me; but I'm sure I looked half crazy wandering around the beach, staring through my new limestone monocle.
"I guess this is caused by moving water," I speculated, still scavenging around on the beach. By now, I was mainly talking to myself since my husband and sons were repacking the cooler and clambering back onto the boats.
"I hope it's okay if I take it as a souvenir," I said to no one in particular. "I mean...my seventh graders will love this. It's like in the Arthur trilogy or Spiderwick Chronicles! I can put it on the bookshelf; and the kids can look through it like I am right now and...ohmygosh!"
I interrupted my own enthusiastic rambling when, through the seeing stone, I saw two more rocks with perfect holes.
"This is awesome!" I shrieked, scooping up my two new seeing stones. Now I was really beginning to wonder if I had stumbled into a magical realm. I glanced nervously over my shoulder to make sure my family was still there. They were there alright, waiting impatiently for me to get into the canoe so we could finish our trip.
"Can you believe this?!" I asked, awkwardly climbing into the canoe, my three rocks clutched to my life jacket.
"They are cool looking," one of my sons conceded.
"Yes!" I said. "They are really cool looking; but why are there so many? I don't think these could all be caused by running water..."
I tucked the rocks into the bottom of the cooler, grabbed an oar, and helped paddle down to the take-out point. For the rest of our journey, I wondered about my seeing stones.
Back home, I booted up the laptop and set to work, determined to learn something about my new collection. Hours of research later, I realized the science behind the strange rocks was more magical than I could have imagined...
(Stop by Galley Street next Tuesday to find out what made the holes in the seeing stones!)

Two of my three seeing stones. I lost the third; but I found it a few days after taking the picture.