Sunday, October 19, 2008

When you're ready, I'll be waiting.....

In the book, I’m in Charge of Celebrations. by Bryd Baylor, she talks about creating celebrations. It begins like this…..

“Sometimes people ask me, ‘aren’t you lonely out there with just desert around you?’ I guess they mean the bear grass and the yuccas and the cactus and the rocks. I guess they mean the deep ravines and the hawk nests in the cliffs and the coyote trails that wind across the hills. ‘Lonely?’ I can’t help laughing when they ask me that. I always look at them…..surprised. And I say. ‘How can I be lonely?’ I’m in charge of celebrations. Sometimes they don’t believe me but it’s true. I am. I put myself in charge. I choose my own.”

Though I discovered this book twenty one years ago when I was just beginning my journey as a teacher, still today, I find myself returning to its pages time and time again.

Once upon a time like my friend Karen, at an age she is now, I, too, ventured far from the place I called home. At the time, I was fortunate to learn alongside a diverse group of first graders who lived in the middle of the desert. It was one of those experiences that I carry with me.

One morning at the beginning of the school year, we ventured out into the desert which was our playground. In each of our hands was a sacred stone, a gift from the earth. We formed a circle amidst the cactus and the yucca. Then, we spent the morning telling stories to one another: those small moments that mattered. As each story unfolded the keeper of the stone placed it in the center forming a smaller circle to our own. When all these stones placed concentrically were returned to the earth, we joined hands and thanked each other. A celebration of sorts and as Byrd so simply put: “I put myself in charge. I choose my own.”

A Cree storyteller once said that…..
"…..stories are beings. You invite them to live with you. They’ll teach you what they know in return for being a good host. When they’re ready to move on, they’ll let you know. Then you pass them on to someone else."

Where are the stories in your life? When you’re ready, I’ll be waiting…..until next time-Teach

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