Monthly Archives: October 2010



Quiet Waters of Piermont, NY


A softened heart is a miracle. An act of a loving God in fact. An act that seemed so far from me days ago.

But I asked and He answered. Rather immediately in fact. The process has been a beautiful one to reflect on. I realized about 10 minutes ago that I was playing music again; in that passionate trance kind of way that only happens when my heart is in a good place. It was then that I realized my bad days and ill mood were over and my heart had been melted. Sigh.

It began yesterday…

I knew I had to get out of the city. I needed solitude. Time alone to remember. To think. To be.

I was surprised by the company of a friend who I miss so much it hurts. She joined me on my just right trip to nowhere.

We had lunch on the Hudson and walked along the quiet waters in a no named town. I can’t remember the last time I walked that slowly. But it was good and I could feel the thickness of the peace that was around me.

Before returning home, I used the last free hour of my Zip Car to ride back up the Hudson.  Alone this time. I finally figured how to get the top down on the Mini Coop, so I was riding up 9A on the brink of a sunset with the wind blowing through my hair. Whatever had been trapped was released… Bitterness, anger, pride, frustration, defeat. All washed by the wind and the beauty of the water. Every breath brought more freedom and I could feel it.

I should tell you there was music. Music is always present in its own way, but today I settled on Patty Griffin. Moses.  I adore this song. And yet I’ve been awaiting a moment worthy of the beauty and pain the lyrics soothe. Yesterday’s drive was that moment.

Fast forward to this morning. I knew today would make or break my heart. Knowing that I have no power over the true reactions of my heart (they are, for the most part impatient and prideful at the core) I asked the only one I knew who could bypass my nature and guide my soul. I think I started out with a Psalm. A Psalm, a lot of honest confession, and celebration.

I think it was 6:00 pm walking around the corner of Broadway and 105th street that I recognized the goodness of my day. And that my bad day streak was officially over. Then came the twirling. Twirling to Patty in my speakers (again). And then Zach Williams (if you don’t know him, know him). Over the next two hours, the vibrations of chords made their way to my own fingers and voice as my own guitar ushered me the rest of the way out of my bitter rut. Before I knew it, I had slipped into a half hour musical trance–trances that, I swear, are spiritual and filled with more passion that I radiate anyplace else. (even the classroom.)

So somewhere between a best friend, a river, and gorgeous chords, I was brought back. . .  restored. And I am twirling with thankfulness. And writing. It is finished.

“Diamonds, roses,I need Moses
To cross this sea of loneliness, Part this red river of pain
I don’t necessarily buy any key to the future or happiness
But I need a little place in the sun sometimes Or I think I will die

Everywhere is somewhere And nowhere is near…”

-Patty Griffin

Listen to it HERE.

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Turning Corners

Preface: I write this reluctantly, but if I wait for beautiful phrases and rhythms, I’ll be waiting until Spring. Or Summer. I write with no words, but still I write. (I totally stole that from a kid. not gonna lie.)

Wednesday 7:21am

Being in community lifts us, whether it is a fellow colleague (who resembles a best friend more each day) who sends notes and 9 year old hugs across the hall on a busy day  or  a friend who simply says “I miss your writing.”  They lift us. Pick us out from where we are and remind us of ourselves.


This morning,  I got an email. “I miss your voice,” it said.  I miss your voice.     (Annie, thank you just doesn’t cut it. I’ve been lost. Not in a bad way, but lost just the same.)

I haven’t written lately. I keep saying this to myself as if the saying it will make me write. (It doesn’t.) Behind those words I really wonder if it matters. Wonder what I have to say that anyone would want to listen.

I’m transitioning. New school. New students to love. New people who don’t know me. My heart is simply exhausted. I’m teaching ok. Not great. But ok. And I’m heartbroken over ok. I’m just too tired to turn it into great. I’m not teaching great AND I’m not seeing friends AND I’m not resting. So where is it all going? Where am I?

Somewhere between school and home I realized what it is. I’m overwhelmed and a bit of a mess. The kind of mess that one finds under my bed or in my junk drawer. That’s just how I roll. But being hidden doesn’t decrease the mess. In fact, it probably prolongs it. Anyway, that’s what it is.

No hormonal influence involved- it’s just me. Today was a little cooky. Not bad, but cooky. I left right after school (more hours NOT making the charts and lessons I need) to get  downtown in time to pay a fat fine to the NYC County Clerk for not filling out a 10 question questionnaire. It took me all of 13.5 seconds to cry when the receptionist was less than kind to me. My tears continued through my appointment with the clerk, except he gave me candy and gentle understanding, which I appreciated. But that made me cry more.

Several years ago I wrote about tears being the result of too much- too much joy, sorrow… too much of something. Today I realized I’m overwhelmed because of too much. Could it be newness? Is that the too much? Has it finally caught up with me?(Hmm- the tears that came with those words I just typed say yes.)

I’ll figure it out. I’ll figure out how to  teach with no free time in my room. I’ll figure out how to make my nimble mind plan with new faces and ways. I’ll figure out how to work out of enough rest. And see the friends I miss.  It will come. Life is just full right now.

It’s 5pm on the train and I end my day much how it began- with Andrew Bird in my ears and dear Katherine Bomer’s words in my hands. Not a bad way to end a tough day.

In the mean time, I am grateful for the people who pick me out of this for a brief second and remind me of what matters. And Annie, thank you. Hopefully we’ll both be turning corners soon. And the next time I teach on the power of community, I’m telling this story.



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