Slice of Life: “Be Astonished”

I didn’t make it to all the Poetry Friday posts over the weekend. I rarely do, despite my best intentions. But the posts I did read were, as usual, full of beauty and inspiration. Jama Rattigan shared Mary Oliver’s breath-taking poem, “Messenger.” (Read it here.) These lines have been in my head all weekend:

“… Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
astonished.”

We owe it to the world to “be astonished” and “give shouts of joy” about the beauty that surrounds us. As I was walking to my classroom this morning, I looked out the window and was astonished by the beauty of fallen cherry blossoms.

Scattered by the wind,
cherry blossoms dart and dance
across the playground

© Catherine Flynn, 2017

I also appreciated Brenda Harsham’s interview with Irene Latham. Both of these smart women inspire me, but I really appreciated Irene’s advice to “just WRITE. Even if all you have is fifteen minutes, just do it.” Why do I need to be reminded of this constantly? At this time of year, though, it seems especially important to find those quiet moments amid all the hubbub, both for our students and ourselves. Recent research “suggest[s] that short doses of nature—or even pictures of the natural world—can calm people down and sharpen their performance.” So amidst all the busyness of the day, find a minute to just be. Then (to remind myself) write about it!

Thank you also to StaceyBetsyBeth, KathleenDeb, MelanieLisa and Lanny for creating this community and providing this space for teachers and others to share their stories each Tuesday. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.

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10 thoughts on “Slice of Life: “Be Astonished”

  1. I took this advice to heart this weekend on an outing with my husband. Nature is full of inspiration. The poets remind us of this, and to Just Write!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad you enjoyed my post about Irene, and I loved the Mary Oliver poem Jama shared. Now that I look back at my next post, Gratitude for Messy, perhaps a little of my feelings of gratitude were sparked by contemplating wonder afterwards. PF is a wonderful community endeavor, but it is hard to find the time to give all the posts the time and effort they deserve. Have a wonderful week!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the link to “Messenger.” Mary Oliver is one of my favorites. You captured the cherry blossoms so well in your haiku. I have a large old cherry blossom tree in my backyard. It is breathtakingingly beautiful for about a week, then it sheds and we track pink snow throughout the house, then it’s done. Wouldn’t trade it for anything.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There is so much to be astonished by in this world. Your posts so often remind me to shift my perspective and focus on what’s important–like the beauty of cherry tree blossoms. Thanks for the link to the Mary Oliver poem as well. (Oh…and I love mgminer’s comment that your post is like a double scooped ice cream cone!)

    Like

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