April Fools’ Day comes in February in the state of Michigan, and every year it’s the same joke. What happens is everyone is wearing their wool sweaters and down jackets and walking against the wind blowing off all the Great Lakes because Michigan is surrounded by water, and out of nowhere the sun comes out and it’s 45 degrees.
If you’ve been in the Midwest in the winter, then you know that 45 degrees equals spring. Even the birds are fooled. They’re all tra-la-la-la-laing, thinking it’s time to look for worms.
IT IS NOT TIME FOR THAT.
This is the trick Michigan plays. Every. Single. Year.
April Fools’ came on February 21 this year in the great town of Ann Arbor, and what a glorious day it was. Windows were thrust open, ice melted into smiles before my very eyes. A bird tried to land on my shoulder, but then remembered I am not a Disney Princess.
Then came February 22, and it dragged a thick blanket of fog with it, spreading gray all over the place. Maize and blue? Forget it. Try gray and darker gray.
It was a day that was cold but not really cold, and I don’t know about you, but this weather situation confuses me and gets me asking all sorts of higher level questions that I cannot answer. Questions like, Why does Michigan do this? When will it be warm again? What am I going to do with my life? Should I get a haircut?
Nothing worked on February 22, and yes, I blame the fog. My computer, my hair, my writing, even my dog was crabby.
So when my daughters came home from school that day, I fully expected them to wallow along with me in the funk of fog.
“Ugh, this day,” I said when Harper walked into the house.
“I know!” she said, dropping her backpack on the floor. “The fog is so pretty!”
“Huh?” I said.
“I got to walk in it,” she said in a tone that suggested this was a good thing.
I looked out the window at the fifty shades of gray outside. The world was blurry and puffy, and the tree branches were stark and unprotected against the white-gray. I imagined Harper walking in this on-land cloud. I imagined her being happy about it.
Later she and I drove to swim practice, and the fog on the two-way road was so high it covered the dead cornstalks on either side.
“It’s pretty, Mama,” Harper said and turned toward me. “Isn’t it?”
“Tell me what you see,” was my answer.
In Awakening the Heart, Georgia Heard encourages students of poetry to home in on description by having them write a “six-room poem.” Divide a piece of paper into sixths and label each section: image, light, sound, feelings, questions, and repeating words. Use this worksheet to brainstorm thoughts and observations about an object.
Try this exercise this week. Maybe you’ll see something new about that object. Maybe you can show the world what it is you see.
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I have been a fan of Callie Feyen’s writing for quite some time but I finished this book in almost one sitting. If you have ever been in 8th grade, fallen in love, had a best friend, or loved reading, you will love this book. As the mother of an 8th grader, my other genuine hope is that my son will one day have a teacher as gifted as Callie.
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