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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Monday, May 19, 2008

Same Nest... Different Birds

Ours is a smaller school with an average of 20 in each class. We're in an athletic conference of schools our size in west Michigan. Since all of our programs need everyone to participate, our students tend to be involved in everything we offer. Most of them are in varsity sports (85+%), band (85+%), choir, and over half of them have been in other events like the school play, speech contests, strings, etc.

One of the best things about overseeing a smaller school is that some old traditions like taking a Senior Trip are still possible. The "Class of 2008" is having a great time here in Destin, Florida. Today several of them are going parasailing, others are just "hanging out" at the beach or pool. Tonight the guys want to watch Game One of the Pistons vs. Celtics series (while some of the girls have dibs on another TV for the American Idol showdown between the Davids).

Julie is grocery shopping for tonight's meal. Me? I've been head cook at the back-deck grill each afternoon. (Breakfasts are "serve yourself.) Both of us are also the shuttle service to all points of interest. It's sort of a "mom and dad" thing, and we've been doing it for decades. Looks like I have an hour of free time on my hands. I thought I'd sit out on the balcony that overlooks the beach and write. (Don't worry. I've already been in swimming--and so has Julie.)

A year ago today on this very balcony, from this very Adirondack chair, I took the picture of the sparrow and nest above. I just took another picture of a what could be the same sparrow and same nest in the same corner of the same beach house.

One thing's for sure... the peeps chirping beyond my view are not the same birds I heard a year ago. It's a new batch of voices. Same nest... different birds, entitled to be listened to as if their song is new, as if the world around them has never been seen before.

In time, perhaps, they'll understand the seasons of life. They'll know their part in the patterns, the continuity, the repetition. It's possible they'll instinctively sense that it's the cycles of life and not the revolutions of the world that remind us who is in control.

By the sound of it, the nestlings are eager to take wing....
Our school's commencement exercises are a week from Friday.

[For some reason I can't upload today's new picture of the sparrow and nest.]


Blogger Donnetta Lee said...

Hi, Tom! Sounds like everybody is having a wonderful time.I'll bet your cooking is super! Nothing new going on here. Just counting the minutes down for this week--our last week of school. Yay! Be at least 3 more weeks til I get down to Florida. But that's okay. Main thing is to get the school year behind us! Keep writing!

20/5/08 5:42 PM  
Blogger the walking man said...

"In time, perhaps, they'll understand the seasons of life. They'll know their part in the patterns, the continuity, the repetition. It's possible they'll instinctively sense that it's the cycles of life and not the revolutions of the world that remind us who is in control."

Tom if your school imparts nothing other than this; patience and understanding of reality, then it is a job well done.

I hope you did bring an empty suitcase to use to bring some Florida heat back here!


21/5/08 4:25 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

Donnetta Lee,
So far there haven't been any left-overs. Tonight we're eating out at a cool sort of Island village that we can reach by boat. (It's actually a penisula, and Julie and I will drive the vans there after the students get on the boat, but we'll let them think its and Island until we come home. =)

I'd forgotten about the nest until I saw it again yesterday morning. After years of taking such trips with students, I couldn't resist the metaphor.
Thanks for stopping by.

(The trouble with being old enough to "impart" any sort of wisdom to youth is that there seems to be an energy-to-wisdom ratio. The wiser you become, the harder it is to keep up! The "night owl" shift last night made the sunshine through the blinds less welcome this morning.)

21/5/08 8:46 AM  
Blogger Cris said...

Oohh Florida, I am SO jealous! I bet the weather is gorgeous down there...and warm. :P

Glad everyone is having a good time and I hope you have a safe trip back home. :)

22/5/08 12:57 PM  
Blogger Dr.John said...

The birds are new, the seniors are new, but the cycle is the same. What a great example.

22/5/08 5:35 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

We did have a great time and a fast trip back to Michigan today. I think everyone will be resting tomorrow. =)

Dr. John,
I hope we somehow brought some warm weather back to Michigan, but I can't make any promises for way up where you are on the U.P. / Wisc. border.
Good to be back in Michigan!

22/5/08 8:40 PM  
Blogger JR's Thumbprints said...

There are days where I wish I were teaching in a small public school. It would be nice to see the unlimited potential of the students, there freedom to make endless choices.

My students had a graduation this past week. Now it's back to their cells, serving their time, waiting for someone to make a decision for them.

31/5/08 6:53 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

For those don't know, Jim teaches in the prison system over in the Detroit area. I suppose some could argue that our educational settings could not be less alike (though if any of our students read this they may laugh and say--"I don't think so, Mr. K!"

To which I would reply with a quote from their commencement speaker (this comment is written June 1) who was quoting a country song. He turned to the graduates and said, "You're gunna miss this."

1/6/08 12:17 PM  

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