Here, Hear & Listen [an editorial of sorts]

I’ve been holding my babies close.

Two island women, for one horrific reason and another, are unable to hold theirs. Wet with grief and worry, our tiny island mourns and worries and comes together in support, love, gratitude, disbelief.

Overdue great news for one births tragedy for the other.

Already twelve days into the new year and I’d like to click refresh. Already trading snow boots for galoshes, trading prayers for oh-my-goshes as the northwest meets southwest and joins Arizona in support, love, gratitude, disbelief.

Full. Empty. All of it. More of it.

Icing on a cake isn’t always a great topper. Sigh. Our beloved elementary school principal resigned.

Then, hope arrives: Samoas, Tagalongs, Thin Mints. Funny how Girl Scout Cookies can be the only good news at an elementary school.

The short story, and by no means is it the whole story, involves feelings of shock, confusion and distrust. The 157 words of the press release neither tell story nor offer understanding. The only way I might gain any insight with these 157 words would be to revert to my college grammar days and diagram the release’s sentences.

In last night’s rarity of an island blizzard, I sat at my first island school board meeting with over 100 parents, teachers, students, community members. Tears, anger, disbelief, support, love. We were all trying to get to the bottom of the story. We were a community coming together. Things don’t just happen. As a brave educator pointed out, it’s pretty hard to get a staff of teachers to agree on anything. And collectively they agree, support, adore their leader. The school board must have used the word decide, in all it’s forms, dozens of times throughout their cultivated and formulated remarks. As another gallant volunteer, parent and educator pointed out, not once did we hear the word choice.

Decision [n.] verdict, the passing of judgement on an issue under consideration, conclusion.

Choice [n.] option, selection, the best or most preferable part.

I’d read about this sort of widespread level of parent and family support in my teaching program. It’s humbling to stand within. If I could bottle the adoration expressed we could breed unicorns or, maybe, something a tad more useful. The principal my daughter so lovingly calls Principal Whiskars (he’s got a stellar moustache that makes western states like Idaho proud) has decided to resign. Decided.

Outrage drifts amongst the drizzle with townsfolk wanting to get to the bottom of this. Bottom of what, exactly? What, really, can and will be done? No one seems to know, but everyone seems to have an opinion. The board accepted the resignation and today emails point to the words candidates and interviews. I really like the word answers. It’s hard to look beyond when you like so very much what is infront. It’s hard to look ahead when you know deep in your heart there’s something under the rug.

So many good questions and concerns raised at last night’s meeting. But, it’s hard to forge ahead when you’re still sorting through the pieces of what lay behind.

It’s nice to have a forum to voice concerns.

It’s one thing to be heard.

It’s another thing entirely to be listened to.

From Bob Dylan’s Chimes of Freedom, 1964

Far between sundown’s finish an’ midnight’s broken toll,

We ducked inside the doorway, thunder crashing.

As majestic bells of bolts struck shadows in the sounds,

Seeming to be the chimes of freedom flashing.

Flashing for the warriors whose strength is not to fight,

Flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight,

An’ for each an’ ev’ry underdog soldier in the night,

An’ we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashing.

Another time ago when I played only Neil Young on the guitar and drove a car with a Steal Your Face sticker I ingested Bob Dylan the way scholarly teenagers ingest Latin. This piece of me is still inside and I could tell you at school pick up or while diapering a babe that in this song Dylan sees himself in those under-one’s-thumb, afflicted and/or maltreated. When I drove home from last night’s meeting I had some early 60s Dylan concert blaring to wiper and snowflake’s beat. The song: Chimes of Freedom shuffled on.

In Chimes of Freedom he believes the flashing of thunder rolling in is sympathy.

Today, the weather was just awful. Cold, windy sideways rain. Sympathy.

When it rains, it pours. Except here, it snows, it rains and then it’s a mud puddly mess. And the latter might just be the best way to describe what we’re all feeling inside.

Luckily, that feeling is coming out with a voice raised, a signature added and an answered call to action.

[update 1.13.11] I’ve just read The Island Guardian’s editorial. I mourn the Missed Opportunities revealed in resignation and I will work towards and wish for an even keel in the days to come.

I love my island community.


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