Daily Journey Journal #35: something new…pantoum

Last week I came across a post by Oyinkan Braithwaite at Writing in Whispers about a kind of poem called a Pantoum. Now, I normally do not write poetry, aside from the occasional haiku, but I fell in love with the flow and rhythm of the Pantoum, and so I thought I would give it a try, just for fun. Thank you to Oyinkan for sharing this poetry style with me. It is beautiful!


Goodbye to June

and those first touches

of air thick, like a cacoon

woven from rushes


And those first touches

of sunlight’s warm rays

falling down in the rushes

pulling us into summer days


Sunlight’s warm rays

set flowers blooming

pulling us into summer days

Spring’s entrance unassuming


Set flowers blooming

in air thick, like a cacoon

Spring’s entrance unassuming

and now, we say goodbye to June


Happy last day of June!





Daily Journey Journal #34: be like clay

The wheel whirls beneath your hands, the clay wet and cool between your fingers. Slow and steady you push down, shifting the ball fraction by fraction into center. You close your eyes and feel, letting your fingers see the wobbles and drifts off center. They push and pull gently, seeing what your eyes cannot until the clay is ready to throw, a creation in the works.

I first learned how to throw on a wheel at a local art shop the summer after ninth grade. It took until my junior year of high school in pottery class to perfect the art of centering the clay, to know exactly how it should feel. That year my art teacher was diagnosed with cancer and underwent multiple treatments. Despite the gravity of his illness, he drove the 30 miles into town from the mountainside almost every day, ready to impart his knowledge of clay to his students. For those willing to listen and really listen however, he had more than just pottery techniques to share. Clay and life, I learned, are not so different.

One day he gathered the class of twelve around one of the tables in the center of the room. Perched on high stools, the wet earthy smell of clay all around us, we prepared ourselves to listen to his story. He cleared his throat, rested his head on his clasped hands and told us about a young soldier in a war torn country.

Ambitious, smart and ready to do his duty for his country, the young soldier approached a building inside of which was an object he had been tasked with obtaining. As he and his team were about to enter, he received a warning that the building may not be secure. The young man paused but only for the briefest of moments before going ahead with his mission. Mere seconds later the building exploded, killing the young soldier and his team. They left behind families, grieving for their children lost too soon. The young man’s father, while speaking about his son’s death, had one message. Take your time, he said. Take your time. Had his son waited those few seconds longer, evaluated the situation a moment more, he would not have rushed into death’s waiting arms.

Take your time, my teacher told us. Pottery is not fast; it takes time. It takes time to center the clay, to balance it on the wheel so perfectly. It takes time to raise up the walls millimeter by millimeter into a beautiful creation. It takes time to dry, to trim, to carve. Some of my classmates, those (mistakenly) taking art for an easy credit, had spaced out, but a few of us were left watching our teacher, his eyes closed peacefully. I understood then that he wasn’t just talking about clay.

Like clay, life is yours to mold, but it take time and care to shape it into the creation you want. Take that time. You will not regret it.

Recently I feel like I have forgotten this lesson. I have become caught up in the fast pace of life, in the addictive need to always be occupied, to always be doing something productive. Today, however, I was reminded of my art teacher and his lesson. For some reason he drifted into my thoughts, a gentle reminder to return to this advice.  And so, I gave myself permission to rest, to slow down, to move through the day without a specific agenda. I took my time with the things I did, careful where I placed my feet on my run, meandering at the market as I bought fruits and veggies, breathing in peacefully as I read my book. It has been years since I have been able to touch clay, but tonight I can feel the smoothness of it against my fingers as I focus on slowly building up the walls of my life.

It is time for me to take my time again in life.

Daily Journey Journal #33: moments frozen

In each day there are thousands of moments that pass in the blink of an eye. A glance shared between lovers, happy words between friends, a quick hug from a loved one. These moments are so easy to lose, so easy to forget and yet they are beautiful. They are the fabric of our life that we so often forget to see in our search for the big moments and so today I want to honor the small moments. This woman will probably never remember her glance in the shop window and yet it was a simply beautiful moment, with such happiness on her face as she walked down the street, the sun shining hot and bright overhead.

Window gazing

Daily Journey Journal #32: happiness check-in

In this moment, as I sit here are the table writing, I am perfectly happy. The kettle in the kitchen is bubbling, the fan humming, my music playing softly. The laughter of my students as they stuffed watermelon into their mouths still echoes in my ears. I can see the juice trailing down their fingers and arms, dripping onto the floor while their smiles, bright and wide, bounce around the school. Pictures of joy, each and every one of them. Today was a beautiful day and I am still basking in the pure happiness of it, the complete happiness of all our lives flowing together in shared memories of watermelon and word games.

On this journey of happiness I am riding on a high. June overall has been a month of happiness. Yes, there have been days of grumpiness, days of exhaustion, days with no patience and days with little laughter. But, those days have been few and the strength of the happy days has outweighed them by far. I am thankful for the adventures and wanders of the month, the shared days of perfection with my students and A, the smiles that found their way into each day. In the next month I am looking forward to more adventures, some of the last we will have in Korea and to more moments like today. Fingers crossed I survive the ever increasing levels of humidity as we slide into July and the bogginess of full-on summer in Korea.

I hope you had/are having a splendid Friday!


Daily Journey Journal #31: night life

photo 2The night is dark, the headlights bright. No stars to be seen. Headlights blur into streaks of orange and yellow, into the rumble of engines moving closer and farther away. Halos of haze ebb around orange orb lamps, the lamps splashing the shadows of trees onto the walls of grey apartment canyons. People wander beneath the lamps, alongside the canyon walls, through the layers upon layers of neon signs. They move down sidewalks and streets, varying degrees of intoxication guiding their steps. We pass them by, squeezing between taxis and motorcycles, passing the dozens of chicken and beer restaurants still full of patrons, patrons spilling out the open windows and standing outside sharing words over cigarettes. At the park a speaker whispers into the night, falling ever so gently on the ears of the night walkers. Haze beds down in the trees, nuzzling the branches ever so gently. On we walk, out of the park, down the street, dodging the speeding cars running red lights and back to our apartment, our apartment with the hum of the air conditioner, the murmuring ajamas and the occasional yowl from fighting cats.

Daily Journey Journal #30: a challenge

For today’s journal I am shifting from a writing focus to photography, just to change things up a little bit. A photography challenge seemed like the perfect thing to do on this lovely Wednesday, so I headed over to the the Word Press weekly challenge. The theme this week, between, comes from Danielle Hark of the Broken Light Collective, a beautiful blog featuring photographers suffering from mental illness. Thank you for the wonderful challenge and the beautiful blog.

Between blooming and blossomsHappy Wednesday!