Sunday, September 06, 2020

On Being Open


Teacher in-service began last Monday. It was a week of on-line meetings, face-to-face discussions with a few colleagues, and a lot of room organization. I moved all of my teaching supplies to a new classroom and have it mostly set up. We've been informed about when to wear masks and when not to wear them. There are sanitizing stations in each classroom. The entire schedule has been altered. By Friday my head was swimming. 

We had arranged to go out on the boat on Saturday with a work colleague of Tim's who is thinking of getting into boating. I've met him once or twice, and his wife never. I didn't know if we would have anything in common and I didn't want to find out.  All I really wanted to do was stay home and putter. 

However, needs must and off we went, meeting M and C at the dock. Lovely people. I made some tea and coffee and we chatted as we chugged our way to Portland Island. Once there we set out on a hike across the island. 

Things have changed dramatically since our visit there just 3 weeks ago. The quality of light is softer, more diffused. Bright green leaves are fading to muted shades.

I noticed that C was stopping often to take photos. It turns out that she sees things much the same way that I do. We began pointing out interesting things along the way. What do the drying leaves in the above photo look like to you? C thought they resembled sleeping bats, and I thought chrysalises. 

How still the forest is, with a deep silence broken only by bird song, and our human movements and voices. As we walked, I felt my earlier irritation leave me as C and I often found ourselves stopping to photograph the same things - a shaft of light filtering through the trees, or a twisted leaf on a fir branch. 

We chatted about the intricacy of nature's patterns, and the beauty all around us. 

We shared stories of our past and by the end of the hike, I had made a new friend. I was once again humbled by the way that I was given this gift in spite of my earlier reluctance. I'm reminded of how God often surprises me with good things at most unexpected times. 

Queen Anne's Lace grows with wild abandon. The white umbrel blossoms are so pretty and delicate. As the blooms mature they close into tight bundles to protect the seeds inside. The closed flowers dry out and detach from the stem to blow about scattering seed for another year's blooms. 

This apple tree is amazing. Its trunk is completely hollow, yet there are branches thriving above, heavily laden with ripening apples. This hole in the trunk gives a view through the trees to the water beyond. 

Openness enables us to see things and experience things we might not otherwise have learned. This is a lesson I hope to take into this school year, so full of uncertainty and disruption. 

"There's just some magic in truth and honesty and openness."

Frank Ocean 


  1. Glad that your boating trip was so positive. I’m like you and would probably have felt reluctant too. So good to have made a like minded friend and possible new boating friends. Hope this week is a little less stressful. Beautiful photos as always. B x

  2. Hello Lorrie, first of all, I wish you a safe and rewarding new scholastic year. Last spring was very tiring for many teachers and pupils.
    Your photos are wonderful and so are your thoughts. There are unhappy surprises in life, but fortunately also happy ones. And perhaps the unexpected joys are the biggest of all. :)
    Openness and leaving behind the prejudices are something that I must constantly remind myself about.

  3. “The mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open.”
    ― Frank Zappa......
    ... do those dried leaves bear a passing resemblance to parachutes that were open but have now completed their task?
    I am so pleased that your day turned into a very pleasurable and agreeable outing, and that you made a new friend.

  4. I am glad you were able to enjoy the trip and come away with such positive thoughts and a new found friend. Hope all goes well as you make steps into your new school year. Our daughter is a teacher and there is a little trepidation about her return, along with the grandchildren. All we can do is trust. Take care.

  5. Lorrie, wearing masks or not is the same discussion here for the teachers. It's difficult to decide.

    I enjoyed reading here.
    Happy MosaicMonday

  6. It just goes to show that we should stay open to any opportunities that come about, glad you made a new friend. The drying leaves look like seahorses to me!

  7. How lovely that you made a new friend!

  8. Openess is a gift. It is so positive to find that we share qualities or beliefs with other people. I'm going to a TTOC health and safety
    training session tomorrow. There are so many questions in my mind. Enjoy the last day of vacation.

  9. I love when God gives these kinds of gifts to us. Unexpected and lovely, in the midst of challenge.

    Prayers as you begin the school year.

  10. Wonderful keyhole photo!

    What fun to find someone who is likeminded enjoying the same things you enjoy. Perhaps there will be more hikes and photo sessions one day.

    I can only imagine how challenging it is to navigate the new protocols. My eldest grandson arrives home with migraines daily. Saturday I visited with an elementary teacher and she is also struggling with migraines. Saying a prayer for safety and common sense. It isn't going to be easy


  11. To me those drying leaves resemble seahorses.

    What a wonderful blessing to make a new friend who enjoys the things that are special to you also. Who would ever have thought? Only God! I would have been reluctant also. But so many times when I make the effort, God blesses in surprising ways.

    All of the photos are lovely and I especially like the window in the trunk of the apple tree!

  12. Loved this, Lorrie. Openness to the gifts, oh yes.

    I'm so glad you had a lovely time with your new acquaintance, a kindred spirit in budding stages. I 'saw' little bats hanging in those shriveled leaves.

    Wishing you Grace for the days ahead -- thankfully He promised it is sufficient for the need.

    Brenda xo

  13. I'm glad your meeting with strangers turned into a friendship. It's amazing what a common interest can do. i hope the new school year goes better than expected. I know that it is even more full of unknowns than usual.

  14. How nice that you and C had a common bond. That does seem to make it easier when meeting someone new. Your photo looking through the apple tree is fabulous.
    You and teachers everywhere are in my thoughts as the new school year begins. It sounds very challenging, to say the least.

  15. At our weekly prayer meeting we've been praying for teachers and students for all the changes and restrictions that this new year brings. I can imagine why your head was spinning by the end of the week. How nice that your voyage and hike revealed a budding friendship. God is good.

  16. So pleased you had such an enjoyable boating trip.
    I enjoyed your photographs, especially the one showing the hole in the trunk and the view beyond - it's fabulous.

    Have a good week.

    All the best Jan

  17. I'm an introvert so I definitely relate to your "I'd rather stay home" inclination. Glad that the boating excursion went better than expected.

    A post on openness is very timely as we move into a new season. Wishing you a safe and successful school year.

  18. Ah, that is a good lesson . . . one that I am slow to learn. But you're right. There are so many gifts left unopened when we're reluctant to venture out of our comfort zone.

  19. I am glad your get together worked out well. Knowing how much you love nature it was a good remedy for the stress before. I hope your school year goes okay. So far our schools are doing well. Take care. Kit

  20. Such gorgeous photos and I'm glad you made a new friend. I hope you enjoy the rest of the week :)

  21. Nature is so soothing. Thank yoU!

  22. Wishing you a safe return to school and hope there aren't too many changes once things get started.
    Things are certainly different and I'm sure there is lots to adapt to.
    Lovely boat ride and hike with gorgeous photos. I bet we would be photographing the same things too.

  23. Lorrie - how right you are that God gives us just what we need at the right time - even though we are not always as astute as you to see it! The close-up of the Queen Anne's Lace is magical! I am praying for students, teachers and administrators as school gears up again!

  24. Lorrie, I wish you a good school year. I am so glad that you stuck with the plan and God gave you a new friend. Amazing. Have a good week! Sylvia D.

  25. Lorrie, this post is truly lovely. I missed it somehow and discovered it when I returned to your blog for the Zucchini Tot recipe. We thoroughly enjoyed them and hubby asked for them again.

    Back to this post, your photos were wonderful and you were supposed to go on this adventure and meet your new friend. God never fails to send us sweet blessings.

    Wishing you a great opening of school and a successful year!

  26. So beautiful and true, Lorrie. For good things to happen we have to be there to welcome them but all too often worry and doubt and just force of habit mean that we are not at home. I'm glad you ended up having such a lovely day.


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