I Can Barely Fathom

The temperature has dropped again, and gusty winds have delivered snow, it’s falling now, steady and slanting on what remains of the wind. I watch the chickens retreating to the shelter of their coop, walking in their forward-falling way. I watch what ground had been bared by cold rain and warm sun turning white again. The wood box is empty; the boy whose turn it is to fill it is away, and I know I’ll be stepping outside in a matter of minutes to fetch an armload or two. I think that filling the wood box is a good chore for a child or even (in this case) an almost-adult, so I will bring in only enough to last until his return.

The cat sleeps beside me, folded into himself, rear paws tucked between the fronts. Tail, too. I taught class this morning and we all had a fine time of it, reading and writing and talking and laughing, and I’m realizing that soon the semester will be over and how much I will miss my students. The quiet ones, the bawdy ones, the funny ones, the serious ones, the one who’s progressively losing both his vision and his hearing, the one whose father was murdered and who tells me that even now, when he returns home, he can’t be certain there’ll be enough food on the table, the one who can write so pretty you’d hardly believe it but doesn’t want to share it much. I don’t push her. She’s young yet, not even out of her teens. There’s time yet. Lots of time. Indeed, I can barely fathom how much time she has.





14 thoughts on “I Can Barely Fathom”

  1. Whoa. I expected this entry to be simply about the weather, which is barely fathomable for us, too. Same situation since February. Just when you think winter’s gone for good, it snows, again. And it’s April!
    I keep forgetting you’re teaching. It sounds like a life-changing experience for all concerned. Wonderful post, I’d read a novel about your students!

  2. The way you describe teaching sounds like a joy. I love storytelling and can imagine how much fun it must be to hear all the tales from your class. Do you assign them topics or is it more up to them? Just curious to hear more about your class, if you don’t mind sharing.

  3. Ah yes. Filling the wood box is a good chore for a child or even (in our case too) an almost-adult! Nearly a universal truth. Loved reading about all these youth, who have so much time.

  4. I keep a little print of a quote on my cubicle wall. It says, IT STILL IS.
    And I should know who I am quoting, but I don’t remember. The gist of the full quote is, “Remember when you were a kid and the possibilities were endless? Remember when the world was yours? It still is.”
    I don’t believe it as often as I should, but if I sit and think, I know it’s true.

  5. It always makes me sad when I hear about kids not having enough food to eat, then I think about all of the food we throw away every week because we made too much, or the “use by” has passed, or the recipe that looked good on paper wasn’t very good in real time, or…….

    The motto of the British Army’s Special Air Service is “Who Dares Wins”. Sadly, too few people dare to leave their comfort zone, regardless of how bleak their comfort zone might be.

    Or so it seems to me.

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