The Natural Rhythms of Summer and a Foreboding Forecast

It has been a rough-n-tumble summer, given the huge impact of the current state of the nation and how it will affect everything, most certainly how it will hobble the world of education. I am piece-mealing my way through the summer months with some freelance work and a bit of teaching here and there. It has been cause for anxiety and a lot of soul searching. The cloud banks on the horizon are ominous and tunneled for most of us, not the least of whom the art educators like me, working independently and without a net. We are quite vulnerable, even more so than we have known previously.
But this afternoon I am curiously at ease all of a sudden. I have been in deep self-examination since May, no stone unturned. At times it has been a fire walk. I have managed to achieve a great deal of clarity.  I have taken a magnifying glass to my reasons for the career path I have chosen. In spite of the disruptions of our current economic and political climate, I believe that this is the work I should be doing.  I will persevere. 

I experienced a lengthy poetic quiet time. It lasted throughout much of the 80s and into the early 90s. In the silence of my pen, I invested a significant course of study in my spiritual understanding, learning principals of metaphysics. Poetry had fulfilled my spiritual need throughout my life until my early 30s, when the words ran dry in the face of constant frustration and roadblocks to living my truest identity as poet. It was a crisis of faith and I searched for understanding. This was equally frustrating since the questions, I have discovered, are often confounding, rarely answered and, if somehow there is an answer, it is  generally anything but concrete.

I had a caring teacher who opened me to an understanding of healing and connection that is based in faith and intuition, the metaphysical realm of being that became an even stronger part of who I am in all ways. Rev. Joan D. Lee had a classroom in the basement of her suburban split ranch that served as a conduit to community in so many ways. There are countless ones such as myself who have reasons to honor and thank Joanie for all she presented to us, the keys to our knowledge, faith, and talents, that we then used to open a multitude of doors. For many of us, we embraced our life work. Our circle grew quite wide.
Rev. Joan has been on my mind this week, as is generally the case in August. It is her birthday month. We are no longer in touch. I knew that her husband of 55 years, Raymond Lee, made his transition this past winter. I wondered how she was going to get by. Joanie didn’t drive.

This morning, as is my habit, I checked the obituaries on line. There was a notice with Joanie’s name, stating that she passed into the Light on July 17th. I gasped. Then I offered my gratitude and bid her well in her journey. Thank you, Joan, for opening my eyes to my own capacity at a time when I needed both a mirror and a guide. Tonight I will light a candle in the garden for both Ray and Joan. I will place it between my two rose bushes that struggle on in their bed with not enough sun. I wonder who will inherit your rose beds. Will they understand how much you loved them? How long they have danced their seasons for you?

During my poetic quiet time, I learned much, including a healthy regard for the quiet times; an artist needs them. I also reflected often to the universe, If I may be of service with my words, please allow me to have them back. That was 17 years ago.

In these 17 years, I have created my life based on my true self, the one I knew intimately when I was first comprehending that I loved words. I am a poet. I take this very seriously. 

In those 17 years, I have built a pedagogy and a sound practice that may be summed up in a 3-word motto: Empowerment through Language. I thank my friend Amanda Gormley for assigning the task that led to this summary. I have also written and published three books. There are at least four in my brain right now, waiting for my fingers to translate them into written language. One of them carries the title Psychometry. I will dedicate it to Joan.

In my work as a writer educator, no matter the age or circumstance of the students before me, I approach my work with intention and integrity. I have no agenda other than to foster the ability of others to engage truly with themselves, with others, and with their own connection to language, and earn a living sharing the knowledge and perspective I have developed over the 50 years I have identified as poet. I hope that what I have to say has relevance to others. I hope that people will cross more bridges of understanding the poets of the world provide to us all so we may learn of the world beyond the small stamps we each create on this planet. 

This is a devoted path. It is my life. And now I trust that the recognition for my work will be expressed in a way that I am able to continue to earn my living and build some sense of security I do not have now.

It is a bit intimidating but we are all faced with fears in this moment in history. It is a crossroads for us all, one way or another. The horizon may appear dark but the sun is always just beyond, sometimes just beyond reach as well. But honor your belief in the sun. It is a constant.


Thanks again for following my blog. I appreciate your consideration of my words and thoughts.

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