411: Soaking Up Sun


I'm Tracy K Smith. And? This is the slowdown. I wake up on Wednesday. And before I look outside, there are things I know. It's still spring. Still. The stay at home spring of twenty twenty. Very soon. Awake my children, and when it can no longer be avoided I'll sit down as if I am my son's first grade teacher. A school bus is traveling to school. At the first stop three third graders get on. At the second stop a fifth grader and a first grader get on. Many children are on the bus. As my son trudges through the calculation I'll think lucky kids riding around is if nothing at all has changed. And what am I learning right now? Patients gratitude for what's here today. Surrender for what I can't know about tomorrow or next month or next year. And I'm learning finally to appreciate the hilarity of all the minor trials of living with children. Like the moment when Atticus begins manufacturing excuses about why he won't or can't or shouldn't be made to do his math problem. I can't. He'll say. Yes you can. But it's too hard. You can do it. Take your time. You know how. I'm too cute to do math. Fighting the urge to Giggle I'll tell him as if it is a law. No Atticus. No one is to cute for math. Sometimes the season seems to be teaching me to let go to put things into proper perspective were all together and well. None of us is suffering that school bus of children we can worry about it later better to hug my son, and breathe in the wonderful smell of his hair better to kiss the baby cheeks that might have thinned out by autumn. Math is eternal. It will be there tomorrow and the next day the day after that. When it's time for recess, I like to sit outside in the sun and watch my boys play. I. Like to close my eyes and let daylight bore into me until all I see is. Than opened my eyes again and ponder all the shades of green. Today's poem is soaking up Sun by Tom Hanan. Today, there is the kind of sunshine old men love. The kind of day when my grandfather would sit on the south side of the wooden corn crib where the sunlight warmed slowly all through the day like woodstove. One after another dry leaves fell. No painful memories came. Everything was lit by Halo of light. The corn stalks glinted brightest pieces of glass. From the fields and cottonwood grove came the damp smell of mushrooms of things going back to Earth. I sat with my grandfather. Then sheep came up to us as we sat there there oily wool so warm to my fingers, like a strange and magic snow. My grandfather whittled sweet-smelling. Apple sticks just to get at the sent. His thumb had a permanent groove in it where the back of the knife blade rested. He let me listen to the wind. The Wild Geese, the soft dialect of sheep, while his own silence taught me every secret thing he knew. The slowdown is a production of American public media in partnership with the poetry, Foundation.

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