Saturday, July 14, 2018

Sowing the seeds of time

I don’t remember reading William Shakespeare’s Macbeth in high school, but I might if Dave Fogelstrom or Rusty Weaver had been in charge. I will remember reading their collaboration, McBeth and the Everlasting Gobstopper, for two reasons. One, it landed on my summer reading list after a chance encounter with Weaver in the shadow of one of the world’s most dangerous volcanos; a symbolic reminder, perhaps, that reading (and writing for Fogelstrom and Weaver) is a great way to let off a little steam. Second, the book’s super-heated, irreverent tone belies a sincere, soulful introspection that resonated with my own experience as a teacher. Gobstopper made me laugh but it also made me think and reflect and think some more; about the importance of teaching, about the worthy journey of learning, about the teachers I had in high school and what they might think of me today and about my own students and what I would think of them today.

I read Gobstopper shortly before having what Fogelstrom and Weaver call a Blue Heart diamond moment, one of the rare occurrences for teachers when the “fog of the unknown” lifts briefly, allowing a glimpse at the “mature result of our work.” It was a wedding; a moment in which the time between then and now dissolved, an occasion in which a former student’s thoughtful sentiment about the role of this teacher hit home. It was a moment to cherish, fleeting yet indelible. It was also a reminder that teachers breathe a song into the air, having faith that knowledge, wisdom, and the important stuff will go forth and be found again in the heart of a friend. Gobstopper reminded me of my own song, and my Blue Diamond moment revealed one of its resident hearts, which warmed my own. For that alone, it was reading time well spent.

Mount Rainier by Ed Suomenin | Flickr

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