New School Year

Today was the first day of school and I have paused to reflect on the summer.  As with most seasons, there have been wonderful moments, such as sharing Vashon’s Strawberry Festival with my son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter, and some not great moments, such as standing outside a locked door at the dermatologist for thirty minutes and then being barely able to walk. The summer has seen me trying to cope with some health issues as well. Finally, just ten days before school started, on Friday evening August 24th, I had to say goodbye to my dear sweet Sasha.  

She was 17 yrs. old and had valiantly battled aggressive oral cancer for 22 months, but finally, there were no more miracles to pull out of the hat, and it was time.  Her last two days were difficult and she definitely let me know that it was time to say goodbye.  It has been rough for all of us left behind.  As Dr. Nell, our wonderful vet, said at her next visit, as she was taking care of 4 of the remaining 5 of my fur friends (thanks to May Sarton for that term), “Who knew Sasha was the glue holding all the rest of us together!”

But Sasha’s spirit lives on in all the many hearts that she touched and the morning after her death, when I went out to soak in my hot tub, I found the cutest little tree frog, and it touched my shattered heart.  The frog jumped into my hand and let me hold her and then I carefully put her on a neighboring plant so she would be safe from the opening and closing of the hot tub lid.
But the next morning, she was back under my hot tub lid and she has been there each and every morning since.  This morning I took her photo which I wanted to share as it seems to me that whether she was sent by Sasha’s spirit or the universe at large or whatever, that this little frog is reminding me to treasure each and every moment and live life to the fullest, as Sasha did, until the end.

Then this morning, when I arrived at Student Link for my first day of the new school year, I was greeted with people standing outside and the blinds drawn because a hummingbird had strayed into our classroom.  No one could figure out a safe way to get the hummingbird to leave, and so we’d turned out the lights and put a bright red blanket on the bush right outside our door (next to the fuchsia where it loves to feed), but there was no shifting the poor hummingbird.  Finally, we had to get back to work, and so in a darkened room I started helping one of our new students and everyone kept watching the hummingbird.  After nearly an hour the student I was helping noticed that the hummingbird had fallen a short distance to the top of a small bookcase.  The student, with our encouragement, carefully cradled the exhausted hummingbird and took it outside to the flower box with the fuchsias.  We got some sugar water in a saucer to put right next to the hummingbird and it was amazing to see how our efforts were rewarded.  The little hummingbird drank a bit, flew over to the fuchsia and then eventually flew off to new adventures.


It seems to me that the natural world has held many lessons for us as this new school year begins and somehow, I think that we are off to a very good start for this year in our rescuing a hummingbird.  Our students are the non-traditional students, the ones taking their own paths, and generally, like our hummingbird, they fare well on their own course, but sometimes they too need a helping hand.

And personally, thanks to the lessons being taught to me by first Sasha, and then the tree frog, and finally the hummingbird, I have a lot to be thankful for.  I hope your September is off to a wonderful start as well. 

4 responses

  1. A summer full of life's adventures. Sometimes I'm glad we don't know what tomorrow might bring! Two wonderful stories about a frog and a hummingbird, and the beauty they brought into your life and the world at large. I hope yor school year is full of adventure and blessings. This is a great blog entry!

  2. I have been here at my home for about twenty years and have only seen a humming bird twice. The last time just a few days shy of the end of August. And I had to think – too big for a dragonfly, to small for a wren – it was in fact a hummingbird. Have a great school year!

  3. I'm really slow in responding to comments–sorry! I really appreciate your comment and thank you for the good wishes. The school year is off to a good but very busy start. I'm hoping I am up to it all! Thank you for stopping by!

  4. Gads I am slow in responding–I am sorry. I have a lot of hummingbirds in my yard and I really enjoy them a lot. I've heard that in Native American cultures, the hummingbird is the messenger, so I must have lots of wonderful messages. Thanks for your wishes for a great school year. It is a lot at the moment, but a fantastic experience with some truly remarkable students and colleague. Thanks as always for stopping by!

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