Today I’ve seen and felt the most rain fall from the sky that I have experienced in a long time. Walking in the woods with my dog, I am amazed at the sheer volume of water entering the mild-mannered creek we stroll by every day, turning it into a river with new obstacles, waterfalls, and an enormous roar echoing through the trees. I am equally amazed by the drops of water desperately clinging to the fronds of sword ferns and the needles of hemlocks, resisting the urge to join the river despite the pounding deluge from above and the pull of gravity below signaling their eventual path.
As Boomer and I continue down the trail, my thoughts turn to the big idea in my classroom: change is essential to survival. If this statement is true, why do we resist and perhaps fight change? And if we want students to have the skills and confidence to participate in an ever-changing world, what are we doing to help them, and perhaps ourselves, embrace and tell the stories of change in our lives?
Change can come quickly and unexpectedly, like the rising waters of the creek beside me, and the feeling of change can be an overwhelming roar that fills your being, like the deafening waterfalls in my local forest. Change can cause the solid ground we perceive to stand on to shake and perhaps give way, like the banks of the creek giving way to the surge of water, and we often resist change with all our might, despite the inevitable outcome, like the drops of water clinging to the foliage.
Does this mean change will always overtake and overpower us? Should we simply let go and see where the river of change takes us?
I feel a deep connection to water, particularly rivers. I am in awe of their ever-changing dimensions, have spent time navigating and enjoying the company of many rivers, and have a deep respect for the power of water. So I am learning to embrace change as an essential river in my life, not something that will overtake me or lead me astray. The deafening roar of the waterfall of change does not instill fear; it causes me to pause, slow down, and observe the conditions that have created this new feature. The banks of the river may erode and be scarred with remnants of the previous path; however, the path that emerges creates new opportunities that I could not previously see. The new obstacles in the river may signal a bumpy ride with some rapids and rocks in the way; however, I must have the willingness to jump in and enjoy the ride, along with the ability to scout for dangerous drops and navigate my way to eddies in the current that allow time to pause and reevaluate the new route. The lone rain drops resisting the urge to fall serve as a reminder that everyone does not embrace change in the same way. The water drops magnify the world that currently exists and remind me of the need to celebrate the past before letting go and embracing a new future.
Change is, and always has been, the constant that connects us to each other and the world around us.
“What makes a river so restful to people is that it doesn’t have any doubt- it is sure to get where it is going, and it doesn’t want to go anywhere else.” Hal Boyle
Written November 19th, 2017