Teacher friends who know I don’t work weekends often ask about my plans when Friday rolls around. They are preparing themselves for a full day of hiking up Phelps or Algonquin, maybe a trip to Rulfs Orchard or The Wild Center. Waking kids up and putting them to bed. Meals at precisely 8, 12, and 6. The Saturday night ice cream flavor is a mystery revealed in the Head-of-the-Day notes.
Sundays involve late morning study halls when everyone is stuffed with pancakes and scrambled eggs, barely able to open their Chromebooks and set to work on transverse angles or input data about the function, appearance, and location of each organelle on the cell chart. Students sit in their sturdy wooden chairs, hoping the afternoon offerings include a movie, board games, basketball, or a chance to strum a guitar with friends in the WallyPAC.
As far as weekend work goes, it’s often more than OK. The recovery is the kicker—Monday sprints to the front of the line and everything is now: barn chores, classes, and the lost and found is overflowing.
I am a festival of excitement on Saturday morning: two cups of coffee with heaps of foamy milk from my ninja frother, wrapped in a blanket either by the fireplace downstairs or in a wide green chair in the living room, looking at our field as the sun rises and gradually touches every tree and blade of grass. I may spot a hawk off in the distance, gliding over the Jay Range, but more likely a deer at the edge of the patio, inching towards my gardens. I read. My latest book is Annie Dillard’s poetry collection, Mornings Like These, published in 1995.
Dillard explains the collection this way:
This volume, instead of presenting whole texts as “found,” offers poems built from bits of broken text. The poems are original as poems; their themes and their orderings are invented. Their sentences are not. Their sentences come from the books named. I lifted them. Sometimes I dropped extra words; I never added a word.
Here’s an excerpt from Dillard’s Junior High School English:
-Briggs, McKinney, and Skeffington, Junior High School English, For the Eighth Grade (1926)
A CHALLENGE TO YOUR SPIRIT
Find as interesting a subject as possible.
Write as vivid a sketch as you can
Of a person who attracts you or an animal.
STUDYING AND MAKING LITTLE POEMS PACKED WITH MEANING
Perhaps some of you would like to try
Putting into rhythmic form, in a few words
Full of meaning, some little scene you have felt.