Monday, June 6, 2016

big steps

i've been working
in special education for 21 years.
and my retirement is imminent.
special ed attracted me
because the students were different.
my preference has always been working with kids who have
emotional disabilities,
especially older middle and high school kids.
especiallly in alternative educational settings.
give me a wilderness site
or an old farm
or the woods
and i blossom as a teacher.
 the stairways to learning and growing and understanding are often
hidden away,
overgrown or tucked away.
and then sometimes a gift is given
 presented for the one given it
 gifts are like that. often given
not always taken.
this is the way it is.
sometimes i see
a deer, a mink, a turkey, a heron
great blue heron
 out the window at home
giving me the gift of beauty.
i've looked up to see
a kingfisher, a flicker, an eagle
 and at night i hear owls, many frogs, woodcock, and coyote
if i'm lucky.
around here 
this rural, impoverished north country,
there is so much loss
 buildings mark what was once
 what people have left behind.
or not run over on the road. 
this one i helped across the road. i hope
i hope she laid her eggs in the soft shoulder sand.
the other morning there were nine snappers laying eggs
along the roadside in a mile stretch, and then number 10
a bit further on.
 at home i am weaving shifu and here, below, 
is a failed bit of 
needle woven hemp.
 i'm just finding my way back into making
instead of teaching full time.
transitioning away from this path has been a surprise.
there have been two celebrations for me and other retirees.
and sadness as i leave 
some very, very
special people.


  1. You live in a wonderful place. Yes, most gifts are given, sometimes not seen. Wishing all the best for yout time, Velma!
    `This is why everything has its time...`

  2. The word retirement implies to me a holding back, but I think your retirement will be anything but.

  3. I think you were the gift to all those kids over the years now it is time to accept the gifts that you have earned - I can't wait to see what wonderful things you make with them. hugs :-)

  4. Transitions can be rewarding, just as your teaching years have been to many and yourself. I wish you all the best for these days, weeks, years ahead with more time to explore your own creative projects. With so much respect always, Cathy

  5. ah the luxury of time and space

  6. birgit, yes, and thank you. gifts and transitioning...
    alice, that's how i feel, like i'm in the starting gate! of course, the race is slow and easy, but still...
    jean, that's how i feel, and a little scared, too.
    cathy, thank you. respect is reciprocated, and i need to feel like this transition is exactly right.
    mo, yes. and oz, next march, without a tightly budgeted schedule.

  7. Congratulations on your retirement from one part of your life and the opening up of a new one. Transitions are challenging but so important... and so rich: as you say, there are gifts awaiting.

  8. your deep attentiveness, velma ~ good stuff.
    ...uh, how is that needle-woven hemp a failure ?
    i can feel the yummy texture from that pic ~ i like the way it's bound together.

  9. Such a time this is V! A mixed gathering of loss and hope, desire and sadness, freedom and tentativeness. But oh, what delight that your are ready and the time is right! Enjoy the small steps as you walk away and turn to take the new steps...

  10. Happy retirement. I know you will miss your work, but am sure suddenly your new work will be a delight.

  11. mazzaus, ok, so i went looking for your name and i found it in a response to a comment on your blog...and saw your lovely smile, too. anyway, and you're right about transitions. this one isn't quite as daunting as menopause has been, and there is a wee monthly check in the bargain!
    therese, it's not only it's not what i intended it to be-a book cover. sigh. the hemp is nifty nifty nifty!
    fiona, i have always been ok with walking away, and the time IS right. new steps, here i come!
    penny, and i'm back att he grampians next march!

  12. Three cheers for the monthly check, and for menopause being behind you (I too can vouch for this not being an easy transition)! warmly, Mary

  13. ah, mary! now that's an easier one to remember. yes, maybe all of the earlier living is in prep for the final transition, which could be a while, still?! thanks.

  14. I'm sure your students were very lucky to have you... good luck with the transition

  15. Change is hard, even when it's stepping into wonderful possibilities. I hope this new place in your journey holds many gifts for you, filling you up, just as you have in your giving to the students all of these years.

  16. dee, thank you, i do need it!
    cindy, what kind words, i hope so. i am a bit sad and a bit more happy

  17. Hi V - from the other side of the globe - thanks for having taken on the challenge of your last 21 years. You have offered mush but as you say it has offered you much. I hope the transition to your environment, house art etc goes well. I know Fiona and I really enjoy where we are now after our transition. Go well. B

  18. barry, your good wishes touch me, thank you. it's been a risky thing, in many ways, but so good in others. i really appreciate your words.

  19. Congratulations on your retirement, and on starting anew. Treasures abound here, I am sure!

  20. catherine, thank you and i am sure that's true


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