Friday, August 09, 2019

Poetry Friday: Halfway

I had my thirtieth college reunion this summer, and it surprised me to find that all of us - in our fifties, an age twenty-two year old me would have considered staid and settled - were in transitions big and small. We're between our kids and our parents, between jobs, between relationships. We're still figuring things out. I've spent a lot of time lately between cultures, too, figuring out that dynamic as I've been doing since my birth. I still have things to learn.

I'm heading off to school today to begin my I've lost count how many year of teaching. I started as a teaching assistant in grad school that same summer I graduated from college, but babies have kept me home a few of the years between. It's been a lot of years, and while I'm infinitely more confident now than I was that first year, and I have infinitely more tricks up my sleeve, I know there are still new things to learn, new kids to teach, new discoveries to make.

I've loved this poem since I was a small child, and I taught it to my children, who love it too.

Halfway Down
A. A. Milne

Halfway down the stairs
is a stair
where I sit.
there isn't any
other stair
quite like
I'm not at the bottom,
I'm not at the top;
so this is the stair
I always

Halfway up the stairs
Isn't up
And isn't down.
It isn't in the nursery,
It isn't in the town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head.
It isn't really
It's somewhere else

When I got home at the end of the summer, I had a package waiting for me from my friend Irene Latham. I had forgotten that Irene's cat had chosen me to receive this in a giveaway on her blog, so it was a nice surprise!

Molly has today's roundup.


Linda Mitchell said...

Ruth, welcome home! Aren't reunions wonderful and weird? Never would I have guessed that life in my fifties would involve so much wondering, thinking, searching or transitioning! Your words sum up a feeling of that perfectly. And, so does the poem. Happy New School Year. I start on Monday. I'll be slogging through the prep with ya.

Linda B said...

Halfway down or halfway up speaks to all ages I'm sure, Ruth. I know many teachers feel the way you shared, excited and ready, maybe, knowing a lot, but learning more. Best wishes for a great start & enjoy That Same Sky. I used it many times in my classroom, a gem!

Jone said...

One of my very favorite poems. Thank you for sharing it. Reunions are so fun. Am glad you had a good time.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

I hear you, Ruth. At 52, I never would have imagined I'd be where I am now either... halfway down the stairs.

Mary Lee said...

What fun to hear Kermit the frog singing A. A. Milne! Happy start of school! I'm relishing the excitement of starting all over again and knowing that there are glorious challenges and joys ahead!

Carol Varsalona said...

A reunion and a trip home are good ways to spend summer in the state, Ruth. I like the idea of being in a halfway position, Ruth, and would love to share the song by Kermit with my granddaughter. She loves nursery rhymes so I think she will like this song. The poem you chose by Milne is a just-right one for the way you feel. Enjoy the start to your school year.

Kimberly Hutmacher said...

I love this poem, Ruth. I feel like I'm halfway, too. My oldest will be graduating from college at the end of this year, and my youngest will graduate from high school. I've spent the last 22 years being a Mom. I've always worked outside of the home a little here and there, but mostly, motherhood has dominated, and now I find myself thinking about my next chapter and what it might look like. Wishing you all the best in this new school year!

Kay said...

I am finding that 50 is bringing many changes and transitions. While some can be hard, I'm also finding that they have shaken things loose. I've tried more new things this summer than in a long while. I hope you new year of school is filled with joyous learning for you and your students.

Michelle Kogan said...

Love Kermit the frog singing this A. A. Milne poem–what a good take on life this poem offers. Wishing you all the best with this next school year Ruth, thanks!

Molly Hogan said...

This poem resonates so much with me and where I am in my life. I did not attend my 30th college reunion this past spring, but can relate to so much of what you say. Transitions, Choices, Discoveries! In my 50s, I'm learning a lot about myself, opening new doors, and trying to make sense of so many things. I love this poem and it was new to me. Thanks for sharing!