Another day at the Common Ground Fair was coming to a close. Really a perfect day… unseasonably warm, clear blue sky and not too crowded. My two girls and I had enjoyed a full day and we were strolling back to the bus. We were caught in the place between not wanting the day to end and pushing ourselves to feeling beyond tired. I had told them we could stop by the children’s area and they could have a little bit of time to muck around before we left.
As we made our way toward the Children’s Area, something new caught my attention. A plaque that said Russell’s Poetry Grove stood next to a trail of stairs leading into the woods. A sandwich board on the other side of the trail said “Poetry Reading 1:00”. I checked my watch 12:50. Hmmm… “Hey girls, do you want to check out the poetry grove?” I asked hesitantly. Fortunately they were open to exploring the poetry grove.
We headed down the trail into the woods and I felt transported to a new place. The woods were cool and gave relief from the sun and the balsam pine scent filled my nose. As we got a little deeper into the grove, the sounds of the fair were left behind and the quiet surrounded us. A woman sat on a chair writing in a notebook with a pile of books next her. She must be the poet, I thought.
A few more people gathered and sat on the granite benches still maintaining the quiet stillness of the grove. I whispered to the girls, “Are you sure you are okay staying?”
They nodded yes.
At 1:00, the lady with the notebooks stood up and explained that this is a community poetry reading. The forest floor was open to anyone to share poetry. She explained it can be from an anthology or an original piece. The grove grew quieter as everyone looked at each other waiting for someone to step up. Finally, a gentleman stood up and share one of his poems. Everyone in the grove listened intently and applauded enthusiastically.
I had an idea… I went on my phone and pulled up a poem we had done in class last year (some of my students loop with me). I pushed my phone into their hands and said encouragingly, “Go on… share this one. Remember it from last year?”
They both shook their heads reluctant to read.
Then one of them whispered back, “You should read it Mrs. Marc-Aurele!”
I shook my head thinking Oh no… I am not a poetry person. I just enjoy poetry from the fringes and share with my students. Poetry does appeal to me which was what lead us down the trail but for me to share?! I don’t think so…
Then as we sat and listened to a few more poems I began to have thoughts that fluttered in my head causing my heart to flutter too, This is one of those moments where I need to step up and be a role model. All this talk about “Growth Mindset”?? This is my chance to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. I should do this.. I debated with myself for a little longer. When there was a pause in the readers I stood up and made my way to the front before I actually made the conscious decision to read a poem. But there I was standing in front. I took a deep breath and read: