It’s Saturday morning and I am finishing a few school tasks before heading out to do some yard work. There is one more day, really two – but only one with kids. It’s been a good year and I had my end of year meeting with my principal Wednesday afternoon, sort of an exit interview – but I’m not leaving. He was new this year and his approach is different from previous administrators. He asked the questions you want to hear, but do not want to answer – but I did anyway. He asked what was good, bad, and ugly. I have many vivid memories of all of them – the whole gamut. In the coming weeks, I’ll be reminded that the good outweighs the bad and the ugly. It was a tough year full of learning and growing for me, and my students. I am not certain who learned more; regardless it’s always a fair trade.
Last week, I posted photos of the peonies along the fence in our backyard. We had rain last weekend and the peonies that had bloomed are beginning to fade and shred. They continue to bloom and provide glimpses of vivid brilliant color from the kitchen window and almost everywhere in the backyard. Earlier this week, the poppies began to bloom. The poppies bright orange bloom is in sharp contrast to the pink and white peony blooms.
Poppies remind me of France; I have vivid memories of my last trip to France. It was almost five years ago, today, that we sped along the roads and fields of Northern France to spread my father’s ashes for eternity. We raced through fields that 100 years ago were the line between the French and the Germans. I snapped photos along the way, I was a passenger and we were on a mission, so we did not stop. If I were driving today, I’d stop and take in the poppies growing wild alongside the road.
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
“In Flanders Fields” – Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Even though we weren’t in Flanders the poppies grew beside the road as a reminder that despite the horrors of warfare and mankind at its worst, beauty and humanity will always prevail. This past week. on the way to school, I learned that Sgt. Henry Johnson and Sgt. William Shemin were to be awarded the Medal of Honor for their valor during World War I. Both survived the war, yet it took almost a century for their deeds to be recognized and honored by the country for which they served. May the memories of their service and sacrifices never be forgotten.
Vivid memories flood my brain and I remember six years ago this morning arriving in Memphis and waiting for my bags. I was tired and exhausted, but my journey had only begun. As I waited, I watched the video monitor showing the memorial service from Normandy and the celebration of freedom. I have visited Normandy twice: first in 1985 and again in 1997. I dream of returning to take W and O. I can only imagine what Normandy looked and sounded like 71 years ago today.
But, for now, the vivid colors of the peonies and poppies provide comfort and solace. Summer is almost here, at least for me. The 8th grade promotion ceremony is Monday morning and then, the kids are free and in a way, I am, too. I have teacher meetings on Tuesday morning and then summer begins Tuesday afternoon. I need to finish a few details, clean my room, return the advanced science textbooks I will not be needing next year, and hand over my classroom keys. Next year, I am teaching four US History classes and one science class. At first, I was disappointed, but now I am excited at the possibilities – but that is the subject for another post and another day.
Today is gonna be a great day, I know it and can feel it. However, it’s not going to be great if I don’t get a move on, push back from my desk, and get into the yard. Making the days Count, one day at a time, one bloom after another, one memory, layered upon another.
Which flowers bring back memories for you?
This post is inspired by this week’s photo challenge – “Vivid” – at WordPress.com. Perhaps, it’s your favorite flower in full bloom, a beautiful sunset or the color of your ice cream. Vivid is limited only by your imagination. Have fun with the challenge!