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✹ write with others ✹ create circles of real friends ✹ true your life path
Teague actively seeks opportunities to help others grow by offering space to do so with patience, kindness and joy. I’ve seen this lived out in her smallest interactions: guiding her young neighbors to create art from found objects, calling upon friends and family to donate to migrants stopping through on long journeys, always holding space for poetry and song when facilitating timebank orientations.
circles of possibilities
Several years ago I took a group of teenage people into the Mexican mountain heartland near Guatemala to visit with the people there, to work and sing songs and share stories and meals together.
At one point, Sofia, our host and guide extraordinaire, village matriarch and curandara, walked us up into the hills where she had farmed and lived when she was younger. Weary from the hike and lazied by the early afternoon sun, the students sat and wrote and drew in their journals, and, one by one, fell asleep and napped on the sun-scorched hillside.
I opted instead to stay close to Sofia; I wanted to learn everything I could from her. She led me about searching for tiny old brown pods and snippets of greens. It was January, and though the flowers were blooming down in the village, here the hillside was a brown memory of a maize field and all was silent and wasted. Or so it seemed to me.
At first, I couldn’t see any signs of food or life. But slowly, just by walking about perusing alongside Sofia, I began to discover the signs myself. I began to absorb her vision, expanding my own limited realm. By the time the children had wakened from their Sunday afternoon siesta, we had our canvas bags full of potential food.
Later that day, the children pulled the hard-packed beans from the seemingly dead pods while Sofia prepared and steamed up the greens. As dusk made its way to the outdoor kitchen, we lit the candles and all had plenty to eat.
Teaching writing is like this for me. I wander along, sharing my capacities to see, to gather, to stay awake when others sleep instead, to walk through what may appear useless and hone perceptions, to stumble time and again and miss an opportunity; I share this entire process with the students who are most interested in staying awake themselves and finding their own possibilities and stories. And then we circle up at nightfall or early in the day when all is still and celebratory, and share with each other what we have discovered. Feed each other with the harvest. This is the most ancient and true model of teaching to me.