Today I am celebrating with so many others the retirement of a gifted educator and friend, Mary Lee.
Her footprints on a life of giving, teaching, writing, reading and noticing are too numerous to mention but will be her legacy. She has touched so many lives with her dedication, kindness, and curiosity.
I met Mary Lee so many years ago as we both taught in the same school district, served on many committees and participated in a very special book club. At a better time in education we were part of a teacher book club that met to discuss books and share our own writing. It is difficult to describe the connections we made at a time in education when there was a real focus on the child and what we could do in the classroom to make learning thoughtful and meaningful. Life and teaching were easier then with few distractions and a sharp focus on what was real and promising in educaton. We all grew as part of that group and made lasting friendships. My connections with Mary Lee were memorable and became a part of the fabric of my life.
(To Mary Lee: Do you remember this?)
As we participated in our monthly book club meetings we shared our love of reading and writing. One day, Mary Lee put together this little booklet of a few poems and our thoughts on writing. It still sits prominently on my bookshelf as a reminder that we share a spirit that she so deftly captured in this small collection.
And now Mary Lee is retiring from teaching after 37 years in the classroom. I know with certainty that she will not stop giving, teaching, writing, reading, and noticing and I look forward to hearing about her adventures as she steps forward. We all become better humans from knowing Mary Lee.
My gift to, Mary Lee, is a meager attempt at a poem I wrote a few years ago for the Slice of Life Challenge. I look forward to staying connected and learning from you. I wait, somewhat impatiently, to read more of your writing so we can all feel the beat of your heart.
Write with wonder
as if you've seen the world anew
or searched deep into those memories
that stay close to your heart.
Reflect on the words you've written
ponder what you've said (or didn't say)
write the words that resonate
with clarity and truth.
Inspire and influence
with your carefully chosen words
rouse the thoughts that speak
of who you are and the world you know.
Tell in the clearest way you can
the parts of you that need to be written
reveal your reality and
impart your deepest sense of knowing.
Entrust your writing to the world
let your words emerge and rise up
impart what you know so others
can feel the beat of your heart.
CONGRATULATINS, MARY LEE!