Saturday, February 04, 2012


Yesterday, as I was watching some birds break away from a far-off tree and float off, I thought, for some reason, of my young students and me. I saw, in my mind’s eyes, all of us gracefully giving our best to the study of English, working as partners with politeness and poise. Gracefulness, to me, is a gift that all people have been given, but that few of us find and develop in ourselves. We live among the graceful things of this world, from the smooth meanderings of clouds to the unruffled movement of our blood to the flowing traffic of highways, and yet we often feel more strain than gracefulness, more pressure than lightness and ease.  My students and I, even as we sit in my comfortable, homelike classroom, probably carry more concerns with us than joys. Strange, that such a spectacularly supple universe, a place overflowing with elegance, should produce so much apprehension in my students and me. Strange, that we can’t carry on our scholarly classroom duties with a bit more ebullience and a bit less trepidation, seeing as we are lucky enough to be learning and teaching on a planet that’s constantly performing miracles, spinning and shooting along in space at indescribable speeds. Even in my small classroom, there’s gracefulness all around us – in the electricity that passes easily through the wires, in the heat that hums up through the vents with steadiness, in our breathing that brings new air to our bodies with wonderful evenness – so why shouldn’t there be a studious kind of gracefulness in our studies as we pursue the pleasing wisdom that waits for all of us?

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