31 January 2008

The "Curse" of True Love Never Did Run Smooth

Ah me! for aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth:
But either it was different in blood,--

O cross! too high to be enthrall'd to low!

Or else misgraffed in respect of years;--

O spite! too old to be engag'd to young!

Or else it stood upon the choice of friends:

O hell! to choose love by another's eye!

Or, if there were a sympathy in choice,
War, death, or sickness, did lay siege to it,
Making it momentary as a sound,
Swift as a shadow, short as any dream;
Brief as the lightning in the collied night
That, in a spleen, unfolds both heaven and earth,
And ere a man hath power to say, Behold!
The jaws of darkness do devour it up:
So quick bright things come to confusion.

If then true lovers have ever cross'd,
It stands as an edict in destiny:
Then let us teach our trial patience,
Because it is a customary cross;
As due to love as thoughts, and dreams, and sighs,
Wishes and tears, poor fancy's followers.

30 January 2008

Was Tom Sawyer in the Gifted and Talented Class?

Well, the glowing has stopped. At least I can't see it anymore in this light. However, last night as I finished reading Tom Sawyer to the boys I could see a flash from my fingers every so often as I would turn the page. It was misguided of me to think I could actually read from the light because I hold the book in my lap and it would not have been ergonomically feasible for me to hold my hand akimbo and thus have the light shine down on the page. The boys really enjoyed Tom Sawyer, though, and we're all a bit sad to see it end. I had forgotten myself how much I liked Tom. For many years now I've been able to recall the opening lines: "Tom!" No answer. "Tom!" Still no answer. "You, Tom . . . "
We laughed when Tom figured out how to get the fence whitewashed, shivered when he and Huck saw Injun Joe kill old Hoss, and chuckled when the judge asked Tom if he had company in the graveyard that night. "Only a dead cat," was his reply. And everpresent was Mark Twain himself, reminiscing about boyhood, reliving his own childhood, and making quiet comments that only the parent reader would pick up. I think it must have been at least 30 years since I read Tom Sawyer last, so I never caught on before to his asides.
Now what shall we read? We're kind of in the middle of the Whangdoodle book, for the third time, so I guess we'll finish that. But then what? Maybe we'll start Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett or have an interlude with Joan Aiken's Arabel and Mortimer---a perpetual favorite. I'd like to find a real winner, something that engages each boy. Thankfully my position as Children's Librarian gives me access to a multitude of intruiging stories. But I still wonder if the books appeal to each child. I'm a little afraid my youngest is given short shrift sometimes. He did choose the Whangdoodle book, though.
What is the treasure for today? I think I can count our finishing Tom Sawyer, as I mentioned above, and the wonderful conversation we had before the boys fell asleep. My oldest talked about how his experience in a regular classroom has given him much more courtesy and discipline than his classmates who have only been in the gifted and talented classroom have had. We talked about how talent and ability do not mean a person should have privilege over another, but how those things give more responsibility. He is turning into a fine young man who feels strongly about justice and kindness and appropriate conduct. In fact, we have laughed a lot at his stories of the boy who starts to cry when he can't tag people at recess, or the boy who talks so much in class that the teacher gave the kids at his table permission to shush him when he jabbers on and on. My children and our experiences together are the finest treasures in my life right now.

29 January 2008

Treasures Are Everywhere

Today I was sitting at my desk when I noticed that each of the snowflakes hanging from the ceiling have an almost transparent shimmering snowflake dancing beside it. At first I thought it was simply the shadow of the paper as it was being blown by the heater vents, but then I saw the shining edge of one snowflake and I realized there was something more substanial than a shadow here. I fetched the ladder from the garage, but when I reached up to touch the glittering surface, my fingers slipped right through a gauzy substance. I was afraid I had torn the so-insubstantial snowflake, but as I descended, I saw it bouncing again in wholeness against its more corporeal brother. I took the ladder back, but as I entered the dark garage I noticed that where I had touched the transparent flake, my hand was glowing slightly with a lacy pattern on the skin. Now, five hours later, I can still vaguely see the fretwork on the back of my hand. It seems to glow brighter when the lights are dimmed. I wonder if I will be able to read by the light instead of relying on the bathroom light to see the pages as I read to the children tonight.