There's magic in my backyard. I felt it as soon as I bought my home nearly four years ago. There is just an intangible feeling of oneness that I share with this property. I am at peace here.
My backyard, in particular, is home to hundreds of trees and various plant species. Very few have been cultivated from the wild terrain, but those carefully selected specimens stand out as if they might be trespassers. The Japanese Maple, so delicate and elegant, yet not the hardy stock of the mighty pine, seems almost to apologize amidst such a riot of plant life living out their existence completely beholden to nature's placement.
As I look out at the glistening twilight from my deck tonight, I can't help but wonder what magic lies just beyond my grasp, both physically and metaphorically. I've stood here many nights looking over this scene, but the bare trees with their towering midnight trunks tapering off into an unknown sky, that idea touches something deep within. I find myself feeling part of something bigger, more beautiful, than I can comprehend.
Looking out here reminds me of how lucky I have been to be a teacher of Writing, mostly to eager 5th and 6th grades over the course of more than two decades. My favorite guru on this topic is Lucy Calkins, and her definitive work on the workshop model transformed not only my capacity as a teacher, but as a writer myself. I was introduced by friends Rebecca, Shalaine, and Shelly, while teaching at a remarkable charter school for gifted students in Colorado. The methodologies immediately appealed to my sense of wonder at words, and the way in which we so uniquely link them together to move ideas from our heart and mind into the atmosphere, including the hearts and minds of other students, learners, and fellow sojourners.
My favorite 5th grade teaching unit was about fantasy, and teaching it reignited some long-dormant stories I had worked on years ago...that special sweet spot within the realm of the realistic, but with just a touch of unexpected magic to it. Our lives are like that. Magic arises from the most unexpected of places, and sometimes, people. So, to come full circle, this experience tonight, with the hovering night sky and the blanket of stars, the canopy of trees, reminded me that my next story will definitely have some magic in it.
If you want to up your game as a teacher of reading and writing, I invite you to check out her work here. Prepare to be amazed.