"We donned coats and hats in record time. As I went out the door, I pulled my old black sweater from its hook. I chose four children to hold the sweater taut under the leaden gray sky. “See how many flakes you can catch! You can take a really close look if you’ll hold your breath so you don’t melt them. Find out how many sides they have!” Every few minutes I called a new group to hold the sweater while the rest of the children danced with outspread arms, throwing back their heads to catch flakes on their tongues. As I watched, tears stung my eyes, and the intensity of joy I felt caused all other concerns to recede into the background. Mundane issues such as math assessments or the fact that I was pretty sure I was getting a cold myself no longer seemed so troublesome in light of the magic of watching small children reaching out to catch snowflakes."This afternoon I sat on my front porch, watching the beginning of a storm that is predicted to add twelve more inches to the snow cover already on the ground by tomorrow morning. Even though I retired from teaching nearly two years ago, I could hear the echoes of childish voices, and nearly see little faces turned upwards to catch flakes of snow. I shot this 30 second video of a Kansas snowstorm. Snow is magical, probably because it is rare. Enjoy!
March 2014: The Children Are Tender
Monday, February 25, 2013
An underlying theme in The Children Are Tender is the beauty of the countryside and the wide variety of Kansas weather patterns. One of my favorite scenes in the book describes Lydia's class playing in the snow, a scene recorded nearly verbatim from my own days of teaching first grade: