Destreaming conversations hover in my social media feed, on the lips of friends, and in the emails from colleagues. I’m pleased to see these conversations about equity, yet like many complex problems in education, it creates a summer tension in me.
This stalking presence of educating myself, of preparing for what may come propels me to continual thought, extensive reading, and intensive planning which can be a wonderful way to spend time, as well as an infinitely infuriating self imposed overload which then results in the recognition of overgrowth and the need to cull. My garden becomes the living metaphor of my summer education. But the ground is rich and so I till it every summer full of doubt about the end products.
Moments of the day are interspersed with reading and I experienced one of unusual joy this morning while reading Ross Gay’s essay, “But Maybe…” from The Book of Delights. I was between family tasks, taking every waking moment to attempt to fulfil my curated list of required reading for next year. Standing with the book cracked open, glancing down and slowly breathing in the words, I smiled truly embracing this window into the complexity of communication.
And then I read his essay “The Joy of Caring for Others” and my knees buckled in a moment of awe.
..she told me she was on her way to drop off some masks she’d made for her nephew, who’s about my age, at the jail.
“Here’s an extra,” she said, holding a mask out the window, where it dangled from her finger. It was pretty, kind of floral and quilt-y, and homemade as hell. I reached toward the mask, toward my friend, trying to keep away from her at the same time — both of us a little bit nervous, a little bit scared (I’ve never before noticed that “scared” and “sacred” are so close), making that by-now-familiar I-hope-we-are-not-infecting-each-other face.
Just that parenthetical aside had me reeling with such depth contained in this lexical observation. Sometimes these obtuse observations challenge the status quo and remind us that words are just inert symbolic representations of lived experiences. They don’t replace it. In fact, I thought about the language of “destreaming” which is metaphorical and the complexities of those conversations filled me with doubt. Not about the inherent benefits of destreaming, but about the meaning of it, of “expectations” and “equity” and of the necessary disruption that will ensue.
Glancing back over this, I notice the titles: “But, Maybe…The Joy of Caring for Others” and think that as I traverse these rocky waters of destreaming, maybe I can remember that the lexicon doesn’t matter as much as my joy in caring for others.