I pick up boy-in-purple-shirt after school. Observe completion of homework. Listen to his interpretation of the day. Sometimes offer opinions, but not very often. He’s finding his own way through it all.
There are challenges to this routine. I question–should a first grader have homework? And if so…should it be done right after school? Or later? After play? But we’ve fallen into this routine because it seems to work. “Later” doesn’t. His focus, which can be tentative at best, is near impossible to harness “later.” So.
I’m thinking about the beginning of the year…months ago…the learning-to-read process. A struggle. Math a different story. I remember thinking, “I wonder at what point I’ll be useless with the math component?” It won’t be long. But reading…well I can read. In fact I love to read…but accept that it’s not something everyone loves. Including this boy. He does it. He does it just fine. Now. But he’d rather be doing other things. I get it.
So the progression of reading material over this past year–from the early stuff–pretty boring — to Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Treehouse series has been interesting to watch. And yesterday, the completion of a fantasy book about the Japanese poet, Basho. At the end, I asked if he’d like to try his hand at haiku. OK. I would transcribe. First effort was more of an epic tale. Shorten it a bit, I suggested. OK. A condensed version of the first. How about just pulling out the essential feeling you want to express? That resonated. So a haiku-of-sorts–
The words. Yes, a from-the-heart sentiment–essence distilled to a few words. But I also had the privilege of hearing the words spoken. Heard the love. Heard the sincerity. The honesty. So now it has me thinking about that …about essence, about distilling expression to the most basic common denominator.
The process of expressing through cloth seems similar to creating a haiku–with cloth substituting for words. But the challenge is the same. Distilling form to essence.
This green cloth, a sampler of many pieces of naturally dyed fabrics–earthy. And the intention– to capture the essence of the life force of the earth right now–the small patch of earth behind my house where a lovely garden vibrates with energy–
It started here:
like the creation of a haiku–writing and re-writing–editing–paring down and re-doing–throwing away and starting over–pieces added, removed, rejected.
Still searching for truest way to depict the essence of something nearly indescribable.