|"California Sunrise", oil, by Karen Winters
-- John Keats, Endymion
When I read these lines this morning, moments before sunrise, for some reason I thought of my students and I and the noiseless, secret actions – “the silent workings” – that are constantly taking place in our minds and hearts during English class. As I was reading the poem, the universe was working silently to start a new day around my small house – spreading the stars as they should be, spinning the sun and the planets, setting winds to work in certain ways. I thought all that was happening was my reading the words on the pages, but in fact, wonderful forces were forming, almost soundlessly, a sunrise and a stretch of daylight hours that had never previously existed. While I was simply turning pages, the universe was, in its always unobtrusive way, spiraling and spinning a fresh start for Mystic, Connecticut. I should remember this when I’m teaching today, especially when nothing fresh or special seems to be happening in class. Under all the surface nonevents and yawns, there are “the silent workings” of miraculous lives. Each of us in the classroom carries within us the power to prepare thoughts and feelings that have never before existed, and the power is always discreetly at work. While I am sharing some thoughts on the rules for semicolons, forces far stronger than I can imagine are making themselves felt in our minds and hearts in my small classroom on a quiet country road.