Serenity

We took a beyond-belief kayak trip on the Wood River this morning – a trip that settled a sheet of serenity over us almost as soon we set the boats in the water. There’s something about an elderly river and lordly trees and the holiness of mist that can make any summer morning sacred. We almost didn’t need to paddle, as if the river itself was flowing us along in its princely way. Peacefulness was all around us – in the soft songs of birds, in the easy roll of water under the paddles, in the distances we could see as the river stretched far ahead of us. Even the water striders seemed easygoing as they skated across the water beside us, and a great blue heron rose up across the water as pleasantly as if he was not flying, but strolling, through the air. I think we felt lucky all the way, like wide-eyed kids seeing miracles all around them.

Here’s a slide show of our journey:

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It might seem strange, but our peaceful experience on the river this morning reminded me of the many peaceful days I had in the classroom when I was teaching. It didn’t always happen, but there were definitely occasional days when patience seemed to be the strongest force in my teaching. On those days, nothing seemed to be rushing or running or dashing or pushing. Whatever happened seemed to happen in a slow and resolute manner. Whether it was me turning the pages of my lesson plan book, my students coming down the hall toward my classroom, or the trees beyond the soccer fields swaying in the currents of air – everything seemed to be done with neither haste nor carelessness. That’s strange, because it might have seemed, to an observer, that there was much urgency around school on those days of patience. No doubt some of the students walked speedily to get to their next classes, and some of the teachers probably moved quickly through part of a lesson. But, still, in my classroom on those patient days, there seemed to be a sense of serenity at the heart of everything. Inside any rushing was an essential, all-pervasive peacefulness. Things sometimes happened quickly, but always carefully, calmly, and perfectly. A fitting symbol of this is something I saw at the end of one of those rare days, when kids were boarding buses and others were warming up on the athletic fields. I saw a car parked in front of the main entrance to school, and inside it, reclining in unreserved stillness behind the steering wheel, a woman was peacefully sleeping. Games were starting on the fields, and I’m sure cars were, as usual, rushing along the nearby interstate, but inside this car there was an enduring stillness. In a frenzied world, patience reigned there, as it had all day in my classroom – and as it did this morning on the unruffled Wood River.

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And here’s a gallery of some of Delycia’s relaxed and undisturbed flowers today …

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