Yesterday was my last practicum day (in school, EVER.) In my english class we read a poem called “Where Do Dreams Come From?” by Marge Piercy.
A girl slams the door of her little room
under the eaves where marauding squirrels
scamper overhead like herds of ideas.
She has forgotten to be grateful she has
finally a room with a door that shuts.
She is furious her parents don’t comprehend
why she wants to go to college, that place
of musical comedy fantasies and weekend
football her father watches, beer can
in hand. It is as if she announced I want
to journey to Iceland or Machu Picchu.
Nobody in their family goes to college.
Where do dreams come from? Do they
sneak in through torn screens at night
to light on the arm like mosquitoes?
Are they passed from mouth to ear
like gossip or dirty jokes? Do they
sprout from underground on damp
mornings like toadstools that form
fairy rings on dew-tipped grasses?
No, they slink out of books, they lurk
in the stacks of libraries. Out of pages
turned they rise like the scent of peonies
and infect the brain with their promise.
I want, I will, says the girl and already
she is halfway out the door and down
the street from this neighbourhood, this
mortgaged house, this family tight
and constricting as the collar on the next
door dog who howls on his chain all night.
We did a free write activity where I model the writing on the board while they also write. I wrote about applying to the Queen’s University Castle and getting in and then being terribly disappointed when I didn’t get to go (because it costs buckets, and I mean buckets, of cash). I wrote that maybe dreams don’t always express themselves how we think they’re going to because a year later my father got offered a job in that same country I had been dying to go to. Maybe dreams are just wants and the universe gives them to us when they become needs?
Of course, I always had the option of going to university. I worked hard and I got scholarships from Trent and from dance and a few other places.I also had parents who worked very hard and supported me in more ways than one. I never felt like what I wanted was too big, until that moment of not being able to go to the castle. (Thank you to my parents who are the root of knowing I can do anything) And I got the strongest sense of “I want, I will”. What I should have settled into was “I AM, I WILL.”.
Anyways, all this to say- life turns out differently than we think it will. My students wrote all sorts of things. It was the first time doing a free write with them. “My brother wants me to work after high school and I need the money” ” Everyone should be able to go to the school they want regardless of how much their parents make” “What is a peonie”.
All sorts of answers as I walked around asking (my host teacher was leading). They’re in grade 9- I don’t even know what I would have written in grade 9…probably something over opinionated.
Today, I’m 5 years away from my days in grade 9.Back then, I thought my life would be solved by now- at 22. The number seemed so big, so wise, so well traveled. And yes, I am older, wiser and more well traveled….but I’m not solved, and I don’t think I’ll ever be.
While I was finishing my last in school prac, my father has been half way across the WORLD, in India. The one place I could have never imagined him going. Me, thats like my main travel place, but my Dad? He worked so hard to provide my brother and I with everything we ever wanted/needed, to keep up with the joneses, to create our family. He put everything into us. He sent me these pictures this morning:
and I can’t even express how much they make my heart burst.
Dreams come true in different ways then we think they will when we’re in grade 9. They do.
I’m finished practicum. My dad is in India. My mom is teaching a yoga class in England today. And my mind will be forever blown by those 3 things.
I’m so grateful or my parents who expanded my world and are continuing to expand their own. And I know this isn’t exactly what the poem is about, but its the turn the class took and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about my parents and life and direction and dreams.