April by K. Bispels
Feathers of color peek out of branches
Chartreuse, harlequin beginnings
Plumes of magenta and cerise burst
From dormant gray quills
April is National Poetry Month, and so I thought I'd begin with a free-write poem. Where I live, spring has arrived in full force. I love to visit my garden at this time of year as my plants and trees begin to wake up and pop out of their winter shells. My daffodils give me the first sign of hope for warmer weather, and their appearance each year prompts a "happy dance," which I do to the great chagrin of my children. (Mom, must you do that OUTSIDE?)
This is our second spring in our new house, and I distinctly recall last year's discoveries. Now I know when to expect the sprouting bulbs, the blooms from our peach and apple trees, and the emergence of leaves from our Crepe Myrtle. I had never had a Crepe Myrtle before, and being a Northeastern girl, I didn't even know what the gorgeous tree with fuscia blooms was called until I took a picture of it and asked my facebook friends to identify it for me. When all of its bark began peeling off last year, I panicked, thinking that the centerpiece of our garden was dying. Again, I did my research (via Google this time) and discovered that this occurrence was typical. Only then was I able to appreciate the beauty of the pale bare wood below. Still, I did another "happy dance" this weekend when its leaf buds began to emerge. Despite my research online, I needed tangible confirmation that growth was occurring. My prize needed to show itself to me for real.
March typically brings with it a certain depression, as winter ends and spring has yet to begin. I think that it is also interesting that it is also the month when we do our standardized state testing (PSSAs - see my previous post here), both of which leave me with a cold sense of dread. For my students, who are not reading on benchmark level, it is a time to witness struggle, frustration, and failure. Notwithstanding our mutual efforts, and the gains that they have made in their reading progress, it is a period that punctuates the fact that they are not there yet.
April brings hope. My students and I resume our good work, and we continue to check in on our reading development, with its tiny feather leaves and occasional bursts of color. And it brings the promise of May, when we look back to where we began and clearly see how we have bloomed. This is when my students show me their reading growth for real. We do our "happy dance" together. And it is spectacular.