I have a confession to make. I never went to Kindergarten! (I’m counting on the likelihood that Columbia Seminary won’t ask for my doctorate back!)
I did go, for a brief period of time in the early ’60’s, to a pre-school program where I remember spending a lot of time sitting on the floor in what seemed like a dark room, singing Puff, the Magic Dragon. And, yes, I still know all the words.
Singing, however, did not turn out to be one of my greater gifts and I went on to learn other things.
Lately, I’ve been learning about thinking about thinking.
Today, I had an unexpected moment to practice. I was sitting at the table by the front window of my studio, waiting for a young paint buddy when some movement caught my attention.
Brief reminder… even with my very cool glasses, I don’t see as well as I used to!
Anyway, after a moment I realized I was face to face with a cute little chipmunk of the usual brown persuasion, sitting up like a begging dog, about halfway across the garden which is covered, between the raised beds, in lots of brown wood chips. And she was looking right at me.
At first I was surprised. Not that chipmunks are unusual. Just that I don’t think I’ve ever noticed one looking at me.
Then I was grateful. Grateful that we have our tiny corner of the universe where there have been no chemicals used for almost 20 years. Grateful that some of our food comes from that garden. And grateful for the birds I began to notice, doing what I sincerely hope is their snacking before it rains routine.
And then I remembered that my farm grandmother, Elsie, used to say that a cardinal was a sign that a loved one who had passed on was thinking of us. And I noticed myself wondering…
And then I wished I could call a new teacher of mine, Robin Wall Kimmerer, who wrote the magnificent quote above (which I discovered just this morning) and thank her for being part of my education.
Just after that, I looked at the clock and hoped my missing paint buddy was okay, swallowed a tiny spark of irritation, and reminded myself that my job is to help him discover his gifts and how to use them for good in the world.
That’s when I remembered that a couple of years ago the amazing author, artist, and teacher known as SARK, told me that I was, before all else, a teacher.
Susan is generally right!
Therefore, my left brain… the side that’s into things like structure and order, suggested, without resorting to the mean voice, that a text to his mom to find him another time was in order.
Though, at that point, there were two cardinals in the garden and I decided to sit and learn just a bit longer. Which, when you think about it, is a pretty good reminder that the young man in question is teaching me, too.
I just wish, for all our sakes, that we could get Dr. Kimmerer named Secretary of Education!