On my way to school this morning, I started noticing the subdued but handsome colors in the landscape. At this time of year, the grays and browns are still the principal shades, and this morning, for some reason, their subtle loveliness caught my attention. There was nothing swanky or showy about them, just grays and browns in countless hues on winter trees and leaves and rocks and roads – a muted and modest but fine-looking landscape. I started thinking, as I drove along, about the “subtle colors” my students might occasionally notice in the books we read together. I don’t usually select loud, flamboyant books for the students, mostly because I want them to experience the search for the reserved and understated truths found in great works of literature. Truly timeless books don’t usually bombard a reader, but more often unfold a landscape of words as soft and indistinct as the colors in the countryside this morning. These books require readers to stay sharply focused if they hope to have the fun of finding inspiration among the sometimes misty pages. On Monday, when we set forth into Julius Caesar, I’ll hope the students can start to see, through the haze, the truths in Shakespeare’s often faint and muffled lines.
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