Slice #27: Observing Beauty

Winter Kaleidoscope

Dear Students,

Today I write to thank you for bringing beauty into my life.

You may have experienced gingerly raising a kaleidoscope to your eye with eager anticipation of the beauty that would be revealed with each slight turn. Fascination held you in its grip as you tirelessly tested the infinite delicate patterns of color bursts – wondering if the next rotation would create a pattern of even greater beauty.

Kaleidoscope literally means “observer of beautiful forms” reigning from Greek roots kalos meaning “beautiful” and eidos meaning “shape” plus skopein “to examine, or look at”.  While looking at objects at the end of two mirrors, Scottish scientist, David Brewster (1781-1868) , discovered that patterns and colors were altered and refashioned into beautiful new designs and thus the world was gifted with kaleidoscopes in 1816.

And so I am reminded of you all. No matter the twists and turns middle school presents, you never stop refashioning these challenges into beautiful new designs. And I, have been fortunate enough to be the observer of these beautiful forms.

My hope is that you recognize you are the creators of such beauty and continue to refashion yourselves into confident, caring young adults. I hope the following for you…

I hope you believe your voice is important and valued and should be shared with the world, as the world needs multiple voices to effect change.

I hope you understand that mistakes are necessary in shaping who you are and who you want to become.

I hope you value all, understanding community helps create greatness.

I hope you see the beauty in yourself and allow this beauty to help you persevere through and rise above life’s challenges.

I hope you develop the confidence to share with the world who you are and what you believe in – to share the beauty I have observed within them.

Thank you for your support, compassion, and learning alongside me. For you I am grateful. It has been a kaleidoscopic year.

Much love,

Mrs. P 🙂



SOLSC #30: A Multitude of Sighs

To sigh, as defined by Oxford, is to “emit a long, deep audible breath expressing sadness, relief, tiredness, or similar.” In literature, a sigh often symbolizes a deep yearning.

Sighs escape without effort – an involuntary action communicating imprisoned thoughts. Although invisible, its message is powerful, as this audible breath can send someone running to you or away from you depending on its intent.

As I left the chaos of KL behind and headed for the beaches of Boracay, Philippines, a sigh expressed both my bone-tiredness and a deep yearning for a week without deadlines, demands or expectations. Nothing but family, friends and stunning scenery to tug at me. I was not disappointed.

Long walks on powdery, white sand beaches, only leaving behind the sand’s silky touch to plunge into the cool waters of the sea – a sigh of relief.

Hours spent poolside, watching the younger ones discover underwater treasures and fight off menacing, thieving sea monsters – a sigh of amusement.

Reclining on a sun lounge, getting lost in a book, or two, only looking up to breathe in the salty air of the sea and feel the cool breeze greet me – a sigh of gratitude.

Sunsets celebrating the end of a beautiful day, and welcoming the evening’s events – a sigh of anticipation.

Fine food and compelling conversations with good friends, long into the night – a sigh of thanks.

No demands. No deadlines. No expectations. A multitude of sighs.  Sighs symbolizing my deep yearning for a holiday and expressing my feelings of relief and gratitude upon delivery.

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SOLSC #19: A Reminder

With eyelids drooping and head bobbing, I realize a cup of tea is in order if I am to get any work accomplished. Summoning energy, I will myself off the couch and trudge downstairs to attempt a revival with the magic elixir of caffeine.

As the hot liquid fills my cup, I make a mental list of all I have to accomplish this evening before falling into bed. I weigh the benefits of pulling a late night to try to get a grip on my work versus facing a classroom of students, tired and grumpy.

I drop the teabag in, add a scoop of sugar, a dollop of milk and stir. Mesmerized by the soothing circular motions, I fall into a trance, daydreaming about our advancing, much needed ocean holiday. It is time to set work aside and reconnect with my family.

Stress has crept up on me like a fungus spreading across all facets of my life infecting my mood and health. It has NOT been pretty. Looking in the mirror this morning, something I try to avoid, I was reminded of a passage from Kathryn Sockett’s novel, The Help, 

“Her black hair [mine is blonde] is a mess. A curl on top is floppy, sticking straight up[mine is straight, but you get the idea]. Half her blouse is untucked…and I can see she’s gained more weight [stress eating is a bad habit of mine]. And there’s a…sore. It’s in the corner of her mouth, scabby and hot and red.”

Okay, so maybe it isn’t as bad as Sockett’s painted description, but it is darn close.

Removing the teabag from my cup I leave the kitchen to return to my beckoning work. Rounding the corner, I am reminded to stop and enjoy a small gift. A message? Maybe. I know I was thankful for the reminder to slow down and feel grateful.

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