W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, January 5, 2022
I spent the entire week, last week, in northern Mississippi with my brother and his wife sorting through my stepmother’s home and her belongings. It was a tough week.
I drove south over the Cairo Bridge on Sunday, the day after Christmas, and returned New Year’s Eve. Its over 600 miles to her home. The Cairo Bridge marks 382 of those miles from my home in northern Illinois. The trip took through me five states – Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi. I crossed the mighty Mississippi River four times on my trip, and I had a lot to think about on the way south and even more on the return.
The river keeps moving and I suppose that is good advice.
Today is gonna be an awesome day, I know it and I can feel it, so I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, crossing bridges all the time.
We’ve been watching the skies in my science classes this past week. We have been watching Jupiter, Saturn, and Venus in the early evening sky. It has been fun to watch the planets as well as my students when I begin class by asking,
“Did anyone go outside last night?”
Their eyes light up and some even produce photographs of the night sky they took on their phones. It’s exciting to see the wonder and enthusiasm for discovering something new. I found the video below and I was excited to learn about a partial lunar eclipse on the evening of November 18-19. You can check it out below. I will set my alarm to see partial lunar and I hope that it is a clear night. Watching and listening to my students makes me realize I am doing what I am supposed to be doing as I begin my seventh decade today. Yes, it is my birthday, and I am 60. I still feel like a young man full of curiosity and wonder. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, thinking like a young person keeps me young and full of excitement about what’s coming next.
W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, October 20, 2021
It was a beautiful fall afternoon with temperatures in the upper 50s (14-15C) and a clear blue sky. Fern and I were giving a new forest preserve a try. It was an excellent choice. Much of the path was along a creek with woods to the east. We came across a momma white-tailed deer and her three fawns crossing the path in front of us moving from the creek side into the woods. It was an excellent walk in the fall sun. We also ran into a Brittany puppy on our walk and it brought back memories of sharp teeth and house training. Make the Days Count, one day at a time, never knowing what will cross my path.
W^2 or W squared for Wordless Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Tuesday afternoon strong storms passed through the area. My classroom weather station registered 2.27 cm of precipitation, a little less than an inch, but at home – none. Once the storm passed it was beautiful, so Fern and I went for an early evening hike. Herrick Lake is a favorite hiking spot of ours with some elevation change, forest, and prairie with a little bit of wetlands mixed in. The two of us made hay while the sun shined and it was a good hike. The sun set over the prairie as we rounded our halfway point. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, hiking to move and moving to live.
We’re at the lake for the Labor Day weekend. W and I drove up Friday night after school, B drove up Wednesday with the dogs stopping in Lansing along the way, and O arrived Friday after classes. All here, second year in a row.
Yesterday we all worked hard to get the boats, the lifts, and the docks out of the water. We finished our chores just as the rain began early in the evening.
O cooked dinner and we gathered at the table before calling it a day. I was the first to hit the rack, admitting I was too tired for a game at the table.
This morning when I woke, the clouds were gone, and the weather had changed, and it was sunny, cool, and breezy. A perfect day to wrap up our summer before returning home early Monday morning.
O’s cooking breakfast and it smells wonderful here and it’s almost ready. It’s gonna be a great day I know it and I can feel it. So, I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, coming together and working together to move from one season to the next.
It’s Sunday morning and I am sitting at my summer office, knowing full well ‘summer’ is another nine months away. The days are numbered on the summer office with a few more days left in August. Soon it will be too cold, too wet, or both to sit outside and work. But,
I’ll make hay while the sun shines. Farmer’s wisdom
The birds are flocking to the feeders, and I watched three hummingbirds hash it out over at the hummingbird feeder. Sorry, no photo, those birds are just too quick.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Viktor E. Frankl Austrian neurologist, Holocaust survivor
There has been a lot of talk in the media about learning loss. The pundits love to point out deficiencies in public education because it’s easy to point out what’s wrong. It’s much more challenging to find what is good and that is what Making the Days COUNT dot org is all about. Always has been. There is far more good in the world than the media is apt to share. So, that’s why I have tuned it out. The loudest sound in the room isn’t always right, it’s just loud.
It’s Day 68 +2 and I am back to school. My first day back was Monday and my new students arrive tomorrow on Thursday. I am excited and nervous, and I am certain they are too.
I woke early Monday morning, much earlier than I was accustomed to over break. I sat outside listening to the birds’ chirp while sipping coffee and working through my morning routine. I realized that the sun rose after 6 AM and it was similar to the final sunset after 8 PM or later a few days ago, this was the last time until next spring that sun rise before 6 in the morning. Summer is winding down and being back in school is a sure sign that summer’s days are waning.
Yesterday we had meet and greets for a few students to come into school, meet their teachers, and find their classrooms. It was exciting to meet them and hopefully I will remember them on Thursday when they sit up front as a suggested. I made notes before I left school of whom I met. I am excited and I am sure they are, too.
Monday morning, I arrived early, before the meetings began, I opened the packages that arrived last week. The contents are in the photo below – they are games I am going to use to help develop science skills – observation, classification, evidence, claims and reasoning.
“In the summer, we write life’s summary with the slow waves of love flowing over the sandy beach. The slow breeze and the warm sun write our memories.” ― Debasish Mridha
It’s Wednesday and Day 64. The past week has been my last full week of summer break. The school year restarts for me this coming Monday and Thursday for our students. I am excited and a little sad as I am every summer when school restarts.
“The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last forever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year – the days when summer is changing into autumn – the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change.” ― E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web
The past couple of nights we’ve had severe weather pass through the area. It’s that time of the year when thick humid unstable air masses cause thunderstorms to develop late in the day. Monday’s weather spawned six tornadoes which touched down to the west of us in mostly rural areas causing damage trees and minor damage to structures. We got very little rain from the storm.
Last night’s storms rolled through the area bringing more rain, but no tornadoes.
Yesterday, our school hosted an event for our incoming sixth graders. Even though school hasn’t started I went in to help and be a welcoming face, answer questions, and help supervise. I met many of my new students who likely will remember me more than I will them, there were a lot new students wandering the hallways. Continue reading Days of Summer: Week 9 and crickets→
It’s Day 57 and I have a dozen days remaining in my summer break. I slept late this morning. Sleeping late is a luxury of summer or anytime when the following day comes without a schedule or place to be early in the morning. Sleeping late is a direct consequence of living without a schedule or maybe staying up late to watch the stars shine brightly in the summer sky, or return home from a family.
“Summer was our best season – everything good to eat, a thousand colors in a parched landscape.” ― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
Last night all three of us went to a concert by the band Chicago. B and I listened to them in our youth and the songs were part of the soundtracks of us growing up. O got a glimpse of the music her parents listened to as they figured out how to be adults. It was a fun concert, and the band finished their performance with one of their best-known songs, “25 or 6 to 4”, for their encore.
It was a late night and we got home well past midnight.
We are up at the lake for the race, the famous canoe race. Canoe race weekend is an important time for us as a family and I have written about this weekend in past years. The canoe race is always the last full weekend of July.
The canoe race is begins in town and ends 120 miles down the Au Sable River in Oscoda, Michigan where the river empties into Lake Huron. For many, the race defines this town, but Grayling is much more.
The rivers have been important where trapping along the three rivers – Au Sable, Manistee, and Muskegon – which begin here in the Michigan Highlands was the first industry when Europeans arrived in the seventeenth and eighteenth century. Grayling, the town, was established as a logging town when it was settled in the late nineteenth century. Logging, forestry, and wood products are still key industries in town, but tourism – hunting, fishing, and recreation – is the industry that sustains this little town near the headwaters of the Au Sable River.
When the pandemic began last year, the cottage along the lake was my hideaway. I spent the last two months of the 2019-20 school year teaching remotely from our place on the lake up here. I felt safer away from our densely populated home region. In many ways we were safer here – there are significantly less people in the county and the reported COVID cases were significantly lower here than our suburban county.
And because there are less people wildlife thrives and is more abundant in the absence of people.
During this time by the lake shore, the beginning of the pandemic, change, real lasting deep change, began for me and my family.
We spent more time paying attention to nature and spent more time walking. I walked more last year with my wife and kids than I remember. I also stopped listening to music, podcasts, or audio books when I walked and I started listening to the birds, the trees, and nature around me.
And, I have paid more attention to nature.
For Father’s Day, my wife gave me a couple for bird feeders and shepherd’s double crook to hang the feeders for our lake house. I placed it just off the deck where we can see it when we are sitting in the front room or on the deck. Continue reading Friday morning birding on Saturday→