Dawn Wink: Dewdrops

Writing, Teaching, Language, Landscape, Life

Work that is Real

17 Comments

Work That is Real

Work That is Real, Sculpture created and gifted by Rachel Bighley

 The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
                                                                                                    – Eleanor Roosevelt

The tide of the ebb and flow of teaching, of writing, of parenting—of life, has swept through these past weeks catching all in its wake. I’ve been teaching three classes of Orientation to the Teaching Profession, filled with students just entering the profession. Teaching this class never ceases to humble and inspire.

Most students in this class have had other professions and have decided to teach, despite reading today’s headlines so determined to blame teachers for what is society’s responsibility to care for its children, its poor. So much easier to blame teachers, rather than address the real issue, poverty. Yet, still people come to teach. 

One of these classes met once a week on Wednesday evenings, almost every person there already had been up since the wee hours of the morning, worked all day, and arrived, exhausted and hungry, to our evening class. The other two classes are online, our connection virtual. Together, we wrestle with ideas, with questions, with all we would bring into being and all we would change. The people in these classes never cease to amaze me with their honesty, curiosity, passion, and above all, dedication to creating beauty in this world. Why would one enter the field of Education now if not to bring beauty to this world?

In an effort to create human relationships, I’ve made video after video for these online classes. Somehow, this makes me feel we are all together. Wild, yet true. We talk together, read together, make meaning about life together. Here, I read from “We Teach Who we Are,” words of wisdom from Parker Palmer. In my experience, the thoughts conveyed here apply not just to teaching, but to life.

The past five weeks have flown by and again and again I return again and again to the words of Marge Piercy, in her poem:

“To Be of Use

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.”

May we be of use, whatever our path, with work that is real. 

Sunset—Santa Fe, NM

Sunset—Santa Fe, NM

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Author: Dawn Wink

Dawn Wink is a writer and educator whose work explores the beauty and tensions of language, culture, and place.

17 thoughts on “Work that is Real

  1. Felicia, thanks so much for honoring teachers and for taking the time to connect. Hugs to you!

  2. Bless all teachers. They know what real work entails. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and spreading light.
    ~~~F

  3. This is wonderful! Thank you for something pleasant to meditate on this weekend.

  4. Dear Dawn, I am thinking of you walking in the golden Santa Fe sunset . . .
    Sending you much love from the deep blue shores of Lake Michigan.
    Always,
    Kate

    • Dear Kate, so wonderful to hear from you! I’ve so often thought of you and wondered how you in this new chapter and Place of life. Thank you so very much for taking the time to connect.
      Sending you much love from the golden Santa Fe sunset,
      Dawn

  5. Thank you Dawn, for all the beautiful readings, poetry and pictures you share. Your unique Beauty and Light radiates through your teaching and I am forever grateful for our paths to have crossed. Blessing to you always Dawn.
    Paula 🙂

    • Paula, the gift of our paths coming together has been all mine. Your insights, wisdom, and sheer generosity of spirit and beauty so inspired me. I am so deeply grateful. I hope one day we will meet in person. Please keep sending those photos of your horses and life. Here’s to our now shared path! Dawn

  6. I love this, Dawn. It was only 4 degrees yesterday here in the foothills west of Denver and my morning to feed our community herd of horses (only one horse is mine). Watching them all lined up at the feed bunks, their warm breath rising in vapors from the hay, a generous shed roof over their heads, made me so glad “for work that matters.” Not all of our efforts reveal such immediate gratification and sense of purpose–a teacher can’t see vapors of insight rising from their students minds–and perhaps that’s one of the reasons why physical work, tactile and tangible, restores faith.

    • Dear Page, What a beautiful scene you painted here. I can see all and even smell that smell of horses and warm horse breath in the cold. I love this, “–a teacher can’t see vapors of insight rising from their students minds–and perhaps that’s one of the reasons why physical work, tactile and tangible, restores faith.” Yes. Beautiful. Wise.

  7. Thanks, Dawn. Oh, yes, we do live “work that is real.” Beautiful.

  8. So beautiful and true. YOU inspire! Thank you!

    Meredith Machen

  9. Your timing is perfect. This is exactly what I needed to read before starting my week. Thank you!

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