Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Regimen meets regiments

The weather in these parts has lately served up (sporadic, unreliable) springtime, so I hopped on my bicycle to pedal to school Monday morning. Another factor in my favor: Multi-use paths web my town, and they're delightfully uncrowded around 6:30 in the morning. Usually.

First sign of trouble: A man standing on the side of the path holding what I surmised to be, as I whizzed by, a stopwatch. Having encountered this scenario before, I knew to expect runners. Seconds later, I came upon the first mob stampeding my way, wearing yellow t-shirts marked with big block blue letters: N-A-V-Y. The Reserve Officers' Training Corps from the nearby university was getting after it this morning. [Side note of interest to English teachers and other word nerds: Corps has the same form whether it's singular or plural, but the pronunciation varies from the singular kor to the plural korz.]

The side note is relevant because it turned out I had more corps with which to contend. [I will avoid a side note editorializing about stilted constructions that result from trying not end a sentence on a preposition.] Having just gotten clear of the yellow fellows, I noticed ahead a group of 50-plus in sporty garb massing impenetrably across the path. ("I need to get a bell," I thought to myself.) I shouted a hearty, "Good morning," which was answered by echoes of: "Bike!" "Bike!" "Bike!" The drab green sea then parted for me to coast through. [Side note: I'm leaving that last preposition right where it is.]

My bike and I gathered speed for a moment until we encountered a third battalion. These young soldiers had on full fatigues, heavy packs, and clomping boots that echoed mightily as they shuffled down the path in time.

"Might the Air Force be somewhere overhead this morning, unseen?" I wondered, picking up my own left-left, left-right-left cadence.

Monday, April 9, 2018

The temperature today

You know that temperature?

The one where it rains early -- snows even --
then clears by midmorning so the world feels rinsed shiny-clean
and the spring sun gleams impossibly bright?

The one where the air is Peppermint Patty cool,
yet you can still feel warm solar fingers on your face?

The one where, if you go out running on a trail that has just had enough time to dry out,
you can't keep from smiling.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Play ball or something else

Before I was a teacher, I was a sports writer, and I still have a softish spot in my heart for that section of the newspaper -- for newspapers as a whole, truthfully, give or take the business pages.

This appreciation for artful writing about games's predictable unpredictability lands April, with its sports smorgasbord, as my favorite calendar month. Among its offerings: the new professional baseball season being unwrapped even as the closing moments of March Madness overrun their eponymous bounds; top-level basketball and hockey leagues upshifting from tedious regular seasons to high-stakes playoffs; and football, which seems to lack any off season of note, ramping up to its annual draft. I might even turn half an eye to the Masters, though golf doesn't rate much above the business pages in my sometimes curmudgeonly estimation.

Yup, it's a heady month to be a sports fan.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Two cinquains, to go - 3.31 #sol18 Story Challenge

Among
my quirkiest
slicing spots: underground
parking garage, poaching feeble
wifi

in a
desperate bid,
before driving away,
to file my last first draft of this
Challenge!


Friday, March 30, 2018

O Sol é Para Todos - 3.30 #sol18 Story Challenge

The iron woman turned on Jamie. "Stop screaming," she said crisply. "Stop it this instant. You'll frighten the horses."
Jamie stopped. He looked around. "What horses?"
The iron woman said, "It's a figure of speech." (The War That Save My Life, page 73)
Middle-schoolers and I have been reading To Kill a Mockingbird, and an eighth grader approached me before spring break with the following tidbit: "Mr. Rozinsky, did you know that the book isn't even called To Kill a Mockingbird in Brazil where my mom's from?"

"I had no idea," I replied. "What's it called?"

"In Portuguese, the translation is, 'The Sun Rises for Everyone,' " he told me.

We followed this tangent into how different languages have their own idioms, which usually don't translate without meaning being lost irretrievably. We weighed the impacts of the English and Portuguese alternatives in this case, with the student preferring the less idiosyncratic sun-based one.

I'm curious to hear his latest thinking once he finishes the novel.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

O, Canada - 3.29 #sol18 Story Challenge

There's a lot I like about Canada, and that feeling antedates any sentiments particular to the 2016 election and its aftermath. This good will has only intensified since I saw the TV show Canada Reads for the first time Wednesday.

Five panelists (celebrities, some Canucks might say) take turns over four days championing a book that they believe all Canadians should read. True to reality-programming form, one title is voted off the island each episode by those same panelists until a single book remains as that year's winner. The victor emerged today as I heard repeatedly via CBC radio headlines.

An entire country using its public media to champion communal reading? Canada, you're not my native land, but in this moment, you feel like home.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Going up (continued) - 3.28 #sol18 Story Challenge

Question came up regarding Tuesday's slice: "How high did you go?" To answer, about 7,300 feet.

Today's high point in clearer, drier conditions, 7,700 feet, which led to a run called Discipline -- a fitting title, I figure, near the end of a month when we're trying to write daily.

Another question: "What was it like coming down?" Like simultaneously falling and dancing through airy pudding.