Today, I made a check on a “bucket list” item. I went up the Aerial Tramway in Palm Springs, escalating 2.5 miles to an arctic tundra habitat almost 11,000 feet above sea level. I’ve posted a video from YouTube, but I didn’t create or publish it. Anyway… it was worth every penny… and it wasn’t that expensive! Why haven’t I done it before? Lord knows I’ve been coming out to Palm Desert for over fifteen years! I think I was scared of heights? The ride? The cost? The hiking? The time? Lame, lame, lame, lame, and lame.
Well, I did it today, along with two of my daughters, and we had a wonderful time. I think I’ll be posting a pic to Instagram, so my readers will be able to see our adventure from my blog.
But what I really want to share with my readers today is a lovely poem by John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club and protector of our natural parks. No one will ever confuse me with an environmentalist, but I am thankful that our state and national parks exist. They are worth the taxes! Here is the poem I wish to share; it is spiritual… it is scriptural… it is lovely.
WALK WITH NATURE
Let children walk with nature,
let them see the beautiful blendings.
communions of death and life,
their joyous inseparable unity,
as taught in woods and meadows,
plains and mountains and streams.
And they will learn that death is stingless.
And as beautiful as life.
I’ve been really thinking about this blog post that I read called You (Almost) Never Have Nothing to Write About: 4.5 Steps to Busting Bloggers’ Block by Michelle W. because it really touches on one of my strongest obstacles in my personal knowledge management (PKM) system (see Harold Jarche’s article) . I still struggle with the idea that people would want to take even a second out of their day to read what I think, or what I have read, or … anything!
Looking at Michelle’s article, I particularly appreciate her final point when she writes, “You read blogs because you’re drawn to the personalities behind them, and that’s why others read your blog. If you publish something that’s a real reflection of you — whether it’s an in-depth analysis of a political issue or a series of haiku about your bicycle — your fans will read and like it. Give yourself some credit — people like you, they really do.”
This point is hard for me to swallow because it is so humbling. I am grateful for those who are reading my blog… most of whom are reading it because we are in an EDD cohort together. Still, I’m grateful because we are supporting each other in our endeavor to contribute a verse (I know it’s Walt Whitman, but I hear Robin Williams ever time!)… to become great trees (the great Maya Angelou). Thank you, sincerely, thank you.
Hear Maya Angelou recite her poem “Phenomenal Woman” while you see images of her colorful life!
This last Wednesday, May 28, 2014, American literature lost a treasure. If you’d like to read about her life, I suggest that you click on her photo and you will be directed to her official website. What I’d like to reflect on is a particular story that I have the pleasure and honor to teach every time I teach 9th grade English. It’s very short and it’s called “New Directions”. The short story is about her grandmother who had the intelligence, determination, fortitude, and perseverance to create a thriving business in the early 20th century. I particularly love Angelou’s crafting of sharp detail with poetic detail. In fact, I often use this short story (only about a page or two) to illustrate how those two elements of voice (diction and detail) work together, but are not the same. At the end of the story, Angelou tells the reader the moral of the story when she writes, “Each of us has the right and the responsibility to assess the roads which lie ahead, and those over which we have traveled, and if the future road looms ominous or unpromising, and the roads back uninviting, then we need to gather our resolve and, carrying only the necessary baggage, step off that road into another direction. If the new choice is also unpalatable, without embarrassment, we must be ready to change that as well.”
This quote speaks to me. It tells me that I have the right and the responsibility to move in a new direction. This is what I’m doing with my life right now. Unlike Annie, Maya’s grandmother, I have a wonderfully supportive husband and my 3 children aren’t “toddling sons” but beautiful girls (17, 15, & 7). I am not poor and I am not an African American women in pre-Civil Rights America. Yet, I feel a kinship with Maya and her grandmother. I think she felt a kinship with any woman who tried to fly. She will be missed.