Smallstories

light & morning*

I stir in my bed, hear the sound of a car engine – neighbour is off to work.

I am warm and comfortable.

Through the crack between the curtains, the sun pours light against the wall. Soon I’ll go for my morning run, but first maybe a glance at the world?

I look out into the ocean, usually only to see the vista, but today in the distance someone waved:

It was like a letter in the post. I don’t like to shout into the stream, and so don’t talk there very often. When someone waves, I notice.

#Smallstories make me smile. People, sensations (not sensationalism, but feeling), connecting a small part of my life to yours and yours to mine.

#Smallstories can look like a nothing. a blip. but if you are looking – paying attention to detail, then you might see a wonderful accomplishment, a laugh, a light in the distance, or a question that to others is mere debris in the stream. 

A bit like Poohsticks

If you don’t know this game, here’s the explanatory text taken from A.A. Milne’s A house at Pooh Corner:

‘It was an anxious moment’ by Ernest Howard Shepard (1879-1976) Image taken of a post card. Sketch published in Ch 6 of the 1928 printing of the book.

He had just come to the bridge; and not looking where he was going, he tripped over something, and the fir-cone jerked out of his paw into the river.

“Bother,” said Pooh, as it floated slowly under the bridge, and he went back to get another fir-cone which had a rhyme to it. But then he thought that he would just look at the river instead, because it was a peaceful sort of day, so he lay down and looked at it, and it slipped slowly away beneath him . . . and suddenly, there was his fir-cone slipping away too.

“That’s funny,” said Pooh. “I dropped it on the other side,” said Pooh, “and it came out on this side! I wonder if it would do it again?” And he went back for some more fir-cones.

It did. It kept on doing it. Then he dropped two in at once, and leant over the bridge to see which of them would come out first; and one of them did; but as they were both the same size, he didn’t know if it was the one which he wanted to win, or the other one. So the next time he dropped one big one and one little one, and the big one came out first, which was what he had said it would do, and the little one came out last, which was what he had said it would do, so he had won twice . . .

and when he went home for tea, he had won thirty-six and lost twenty-eight, which meant that he was– that he had–well, you take twenty-eight from thirty-six, and that’s what he was. Instead of the other way round. And that was the beginning of the game called Poohsticks, which Pooh invented, and which he and his friends used to play on the edge of the Forest. But they played with sticks instead of fir-cones, because they were easier to mark.

It is not about winning, but about noticing with others. Stopping and valuing that moment, prioritising that which might be so ordinary – but life is. The magic comes in the ordinary being alive.

for teaching?

there are dangers

Dangers in getting out of bed in the morning, and crossing the road, but online keeps changing so fast and there aren’t rule books. Well, if there are they are already out of date before being published (even online publications), because online the world never sleeps.

Crossing the road you look and see what’s coming, but not online. third parties, tracking, big data. I don’t understand, maybe can’t understand it all? At least with my space, I have some control.

Teaching involves willfull vulnerability and trust- from teacher and student – meaning moments of allowed uncertainty while exploration, connection, and *learning* take place. In the classroom, this can be (mostly) orchestrated, but in the world where anything can happen, there is more risk. It is a tricky thing as a teacher to weigh up what we can understand of the risks and then choose to ask people to be vulnerable in different settings.

Where I can’t see what’s coming, I need to tell that to the students.

So when I do post a voice in the stream, it is usually a message in a bottle pointing outward – here, to my space.

I share my stories that way, but words launched into the stream without the protection of the bottle are chosen carefully. As a result that may mean few find my story and we do rely on that tap on the shoulder, that nod across the pond, the noticing that keeps the connection alight.

Image CC BY-NC-ND by Nik Golding

*This is a post written in response to the tap on the shoulder received from Kate. Thank you, Kate.

Comments

    1. Post
      Author
      Laura

      you know, I have never read that. (I had years of dirth when I was told I ‘had finished’ reading all the library had for me – that’s another story) The sentiment is exactly how I feel in the mornings. exactly

      thank you

      1. tellio

        So are you the little otter Portly in Pan’s arms or are you Mole or Ratty? I have grown from being Mole and Ratty toward the innocence of Portly in the Gaia’s arms.

    1. Post
      Author
  1. tellio

    Don’t know why for sure but I am reminded of the transcendent “Pan” passage in Wind in the Willows:

    “Then suddenly the Mole felt a great Awe fall upon him, an awe that turned his muscles to water, bowed his head, and rooted his feet to the ground. It was no panic terror—indeed he felt wonderfully at peace and happy—but it was an awe that smote and held him and, without seeing, he knew it could only mean that some august Presence was very, very near. With difficulty he turned to look for his friend and saw him at his side cowed, stricken, and trembling violently. And still there was utter silence in the populous bird-haunted branches around them; and still the light grew and grew.

    Perhaps he would never have dared to raise his eyes, but that, though the piping was now hushed, the call and the summons seemed still dominant and imperious. He might not refuse, were Death himself waiting to strike him instantly, once he had looked with mortal eye on things rightly kept hidden. Trembling he obeyed, and raised his humble head; and then, in that utter clearness of the imminent dawn, while Nature, flushed with fullness of incredible colour, seemed to hold her breath for the event, he looked in the very eyes of the Friend and Helper; saw the backward sweep of the curved horns, gleaming in the growing daylight; saw the stern, hooked nose between the kindly eyes that were looking down on them humourously, while the bearded mouth broke into a half-smile at the corners; saw the rippling muscles on the arm that lay across the broad chest, the long supple hand still holding the pan-pipes only just fallen away from the parted lips; saw the splendid curves of the shaggy limbs disposed in majestic ease on the sward; saw, last of all, nestling between his very hooves, sleeping soundly in entire peace and contentment, the little, round, podgy, childish form of the baby otter. All this he saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as he looked, he lived; and still, as he lived, he wondered.

    ‘Rat!’ he found breath to whisper, shaking. ‘Are you afraid?’

    ‘Afraid?’ murmured the Rat, his eyes shining with unutterable love. ‘Afraid! Of HIM? O, never, never! And yet—and yet—O, Mole, I am afraid!’

    Then the two animals, crouching to the earth, bowed their heads and did worship.

    Sudden and magnificent, the sun’s broad golden disc showed itself over the horizon facing them; and the first rays, shooting across the level water-meadows, took the animals full in the eyes and dazzled them. When they were able to look once more, the Vision had vanished, and the air was full of the carol of birds that hailed the dawn.

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