A Tracey K. Smith Poem on growing up. Spring Arriving Slowly, looking toward the end of the year - summer and beyond

Hello Great River Community ~

The month of May is upon us! While spring slowly arrives, we watch the snow thaw from April, and see our garden seeds sprout bravely into the cool mornings. We also see our students growing into their new year - as it seems that student growth spurts and emotional leaps forward often coincide with spring weather.

Our own school has undergone quite a period of growth these past two spring-times and we are also coming into a new awareness of our selves in our building, and in our fully realized arrangement of a first through twelfth grade institution. If you haven’t yet, please give us feedback on our family survey! (click to link) This survey is key in telling our school board how the school is doing well, and how we can better build community, meet student needs, and serve our mission. Thanks for giving us the time and feedback.

Also, our Parent Engagement Group and the School have decided to take a break from the “spring fest” fundraiser of the past several years. We are re-assessing how we can best create community events that are purposeful and inclusive. And I (as Head of School) do look forward to being in a dunk tank again - that was enjoyed by students. :-)

Below, a beautiful poem by Tracy K. Smith on seeing an adolescent move through the transition points of maturing. The move from day to night, through a period of dusk, and all the ways that seeing that transition from the outside can be compelling, unnerving, and invite a parent to consider their own need for reassurance. I think of this poem each spring, as we move through another transition, and often watch our children grow up and out and sideways in means and methods that are outside of our prediction.

Be well to all!



What woke to war in me those years

When my daughter had first grown into

A solid self-centered self? I’d watch her

Sit at the table—well, not quite sit,

More like stand on one leg while

The other knee hovered just over the chair.

She wouldn't lower herself, as if

There might be a fire, or a great black

Blizzard of waves let loose in the kitchen,

And she'd need to make her escape. No,

She'd trust no one but herself, her own

New lean always jittering legs to carry her—

Where exactly? Where would a child go?

To there. There alone. She'd rest one elbow

On the table—the opposite one to the bent leg

Skimming the solid expensive tasteful chair.

And even though we were together, her eyes

Would go half-dome, shades dropped

Like a screen at some cinema the old aren't

Let into. I thought I'd have more time! I thought

My body would have taken longer going

About the inevitable feat of repelling her,

But now, I could see even in what food

She left untouched, food I'd bought and made

And all but ferried to her lips, I could see

How it smacked of all that had grown slack

And loose in me. Her other arm

Would wave the fork around just above

The surface of the plate, casting about

For the least possible morsel, the tiniest

Grain of unseasoned rice. She'd dip

Into the food like one of those shoddy

Metal claws poised over a valley of rubber

Bouncing balls, the kind that lifts nothing

Or next to nothing and drops it in the chute.

The narrow untouched hips. The shoulders

Still so naïve as to stand squared, erect,

Impervious facing the window open

Onto the darkening dusk.

~Tracy K. Smith, "Dusk" from Wade in the Water.  Copyright © 2018 by Tracy K. Smith. Graywolf press