I don’t know how to write about Life is a Verb camp last week except in pieces, so here’s a tiny piece:
One of the workshops I signed up for was Naomi Shihab Nye’s Wind in a Bucket/Words in a Brain. In our workshop she read letters from children who had written to her and there were so many nuggets of wisdom. I was so inspired by her interactions with children and their poetry. I can never go back to where I was before that workshop.
Two days ago I went out with Boo to walk in the fallen leaves…we each had 3×5 cards and wrote down what we were seeing, hearing, thinking. Small index cards are much more manageable than a large piece of paper. We talked as we went and shared our ideas before writing:
This leaf is more lavender than brown.
These look like alligator backs and crocodile tails.
They pile up so quickly they remind me of dirty laundry.
They are perfect camouflage for the dog!
That night, when I read from an old book of poetry at bedtime, I hid her 3×5 cards behind the book and read her words back to her….only halfway through did she recognize the familiarity and with pure delight said:
Hey! That is MY poem!
Can’t see the wind.
Red ones remind me of apples.
Thin like paper.
So many you can’t name them.
When they fall off it’s like leaving the family.
Sounds like cereal.
Near and far.
Yellow ones remind me of lemons.
Maples look like dinosaur footprints.
Calling for you to jump in them.
Piled on roofs.
Orange like an orange.
Dogwoods are the first to lose them.
Red oaks are the last.
And then I showed her this reading below…and she had tears in her eyes. I can see my child inspired…and that inspires me.
“Just think! No one has ever seen inside this peanut before!”
Naomi said: you don’t have to dream, just collect.
I love to collect, stretching myself to see things differently and not necessarily using it all up at once.
My words from the leaves:
Crumpily, lumpily, curly, twirly
In my hair, in my ears, everywhere, near and far
Chocolate shavings, orange peels, ashes from a fire
Lavender, ochre, burgundy wine
Elephant ears, spotted leopards, animal hides
Alligator backs, crocodile tails
Boats, hands, ear lobes, saw blades
What does this look like? It looks like a leaf.
P.S. I purchased a book at camp (A Maze Me: Poems for Girls) and had Naomi Shihab Nye inscribe it for Boo. I found it on Boo’s night table this morning after she’d left for school. With a flashlight nearby. Marked at page 106. Whenever I find her secretly reading at night, I quietly backpedal through the door so I won’t disturb her.