Friday, September 28, 2018

Listening to the Roaring Waves

While preparing for the unveiling of “The Art of Summering Gallery of Artistic Expressions, I  took a week-long detour to present at the National Center for Families Learning Conference in Fort Lauderdale and visit friends and family in both Bonita Springs and Palm Beach Gardens. With a "summer frame of mind", I experienced nature’s touch from cloudy skies that broke into thunderous roars of intense rainfall to exquisitely-hued sunrises and sunsets. Each day, the moon and the stars dressed in sparkling shades and the ocean roars lulled me to sleep. From one coast of southern Florida to the other, my husband and I enjoyed the Floridian sights, the presence of a still visibly strong summer season and the opportunity to continue the "art of summering" after its designated end. Needless to say, I immersed myself in the experience, collecting magical memories to reflect upon during the cold winter months.

In my post, Anticipation, I stated that the art of summering is listening to the ocean waves and wondering, such a simple act that I engaged in while in Fort Lauderdale.  Each morning and night, I heard the ocean call. On two mornings, I engaged in beach yoga before sunrise and deeply reflected on the presence of the moon, its descent, and the rising of the sun. From these experiences, I wrote a questioning poem.

Questioning Life, the Mystical Mover

How would my life have been different
if I only knew
to pause and savor quiet moments more often?

How would my life have been different
if I only knew
to view silver raindrops as day brighteners, not negatives?

How would my life have been different
if only I acted with patience
as nature slowly paraded in front of me?

How would my life have been different
if "what if" reflections
marked the beginning of the journey?

...and so now, I listen intently to the roaring waves
throwing out one question,
"How can I find balance in life to make a difference?"
©"CVarsalona, 2018

The above poem and digital inspirations are being offered to Michelle H. Barnes for her September Ditty Challenge from the inspirational poet, Naomi Shihab. We were asked to write a letter to ourself in which we asked some questions that we didn't have to answer. You can access all of the responses to the challenge at Michelle's Ditty of the Month Club September Padlet
Before I post my poem on the padlet, I will stop at Jone Rush MacCulloch's blog site, Deo Writer: Musings to Spark the Spirit, for the Poetry Friday Roundup. 
Photograph/Logo created by Jone MacCulloch

I am dedicating this weekend to put the finishing touches on The Art of Summering Global Gallery of Artistic Expressions. Stay tuned for the unveiling announcement. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Making Your Mark

Part of the art of summering is listening to the ocean waves and wondering.

Why is it important to allow voice to rise?

How can we engage students each day so that they can make their mark?

Dot Day, based on Peter H. Reynolds' book, The Dot, celebrates creativity 
around the globe.

Help each child reach his/her potential to 
create with a brave spirit
and joyful heart.

Today is Slice of Life Tuesday at Two Writing Teachers.

On December 17, 2018 Peter H. Reynolds, the author of The Dot, will guest moderate #NYEDChatwith Susan Verde. The special holiday Twitter chat, The Gift of Reading, will inspire educators, parents, families, and children to share the pleasures of reading. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Celebrating Communication with a Global Friend

I like to connect via Twitter with my global friends about teaching and learning either through chats or blogging. It is amazing to be virtual friends with so many like-minded people who are student-centered and creative. This weekend, Terje Akke, one of my educator friends from Estonia, created her celebration post about an idea that has been marinating for years. Excitedly, I read her post to see what photos Terje would include. She is a wonderful photographer and writer who has been giving her students the gift of writing in the great outdoors but her real desire for years has been to have her students experience how writers go to unexpected places for ideas. Recently, her dream was realized.

In Terje's blog, she described the unusual place she took the children to write. It was the Estonian Art Doll House.  I found Terje's photos of the doll museum to be quite engaging. I could picture the young writers milling about the house being greeted by an assortment of dolls. I especially liked the photo Terje included of a Victorian Queen of Hearts type doll. I started playing around with rhyme and decided to draft a short poem for the students to remember their experience. Who knows, maybe they will create their own person poems for each of the dolls they saw.

I am grateful for the connection I have made with Terje. You can see her photographic work in my recent gallery of artistic expressions.  Terje has given me a gift. She hasprovided me with insight into the teaching methods and lifestyle of Estonians and continues communication to share ideas. There are many other photographers and educators from across the world that I have met through Twitter. Being able to connect virtually with others across regions makes the world seem more accessible to me.

I celebrate with Terje this week to continue the commitment to celebrating life that Ruth Ayres started. 

Saturday, September 15, 2018


"Poetry reading is up in America while reading books for pleasure is down slightly. So says the National Endowment for the Arts, which has published the result of a study, 'U.S. Trends in Arts Attendance and Literacy Reading: 2002-2017'... Poetry reading surged a remarkable 76 percent, to 28 million in 2017." 

I was excited to read the short article, Making Waves, Readers in America, in USA Today, 9.14.18, before heading out to the state education conference I was attending. After several days of cooler temperature and rain on Long Island, it was a pleasure to be greeted by the sun and warmer weather. I am still in summer mode and am enjoying reading poetry that has been sent to me for The Art of Summering Gallery.  After a short hiatus from   designing my summer gallery of artistic expressions, I am happy to return to the task.


  Awaiting the arrival of the
  Newest addition to my global galleries,
  The Art of Summering. There will be
  Inspirational quotes,
  Photography blended with
  Artwork, and
  Technology. There will be digital art
  Image poems, a children's corner, and music.
  Open invitation to the

Coming Soon!

For now, I am joining Amy Ludwig Vanderwater at The Poet Farm who is the host of Poetry Friday this week. Amy has a reflective post for students and teachers with a wonderful poem, a quiet boat. Please join me!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Remembering Fallen Heroes

We still remember
as the bell tolls
and names are read.
Remembering 911's fallen heroes,
numbered in the sky and
honored at the village green.
We still remember.
©CVarsalona, 2018, Rockville Centre, NY

I woke this morning to the broadcasting of the Ground Zero ceremony from New York City. As the ceremonial bell rang, the reading of the fallen heroes' names stopped. A stillness surrounded the structure. Tears were shed. The pause was deafening for so many remembered the day that many lives were lost, fathers, mothers, siblings, relatives, and friends. My NYC suburban village was hit hard. Some who perished on 9/11 worked on Wall Street. Others were fire fighters and police. All become our village's heroes.

The short poem above is a compilation of blog titles I have written over the years. Each one a painful memory. Each one a tribute to those who perished, so I ask, "What is needed in this world?" 

All of the words in red are blog posts, either at Beyond LiteracyLink or Wonderopolis' Wonder Ground, that I have written on the topic and gathered here to create a poem.

Besides being Patriot Day, it is the Slice of Life Tuesday at Two Writing TeachersI offer this solemn tribute to those who are remembering 9/11 and to those who are committed to sharing acts of kindness.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Summer Waves Goodby But Summering Lives On

I've traveled different paths each season, 
held onto treasured moments, lingering
in their memories, for they have been
nourishment for my soul. 
©CV, 2017 

As the summer season on Long Island comes to a close, my mind drifts back to the pristine beach where a gentle breeze brings relief from the persistent heat. I hear the roar of the foaming waves singing their summer song, and savor those cherished memories. To preserve the glorious rays of the summer season, I am deep in thought about the design of my summer gallery of artistic expressions, The Art of Summering. There will be a brilliant array of art, poetry, nature/travel photography, digital art, and music inside the gallery SO STAY TUNED for the upcoming unveiling.

 of the Gallery Sections:

Omar Akram's Dancing With The Wind video that includes dance, instrumental music, and beach scenes swept me away with its breathtaking approach to the art of summering. Since the video showcases global scenes, I added it to #TheArtofSummering Gallery's playlist.

Being in a contemplative frame of mind, I captured a stanza from Ramona Behnke's post today and added it to my photo of a Long Island beach to create an #imagepoem / #digitalinspiration.



By Thomas Cooper Gotch submitted by Tabatha Yeatts


Many thanks to all the poets, photographers, artists, bloggers, writers, teachers, and students who were interested in offering digital inspirations for The Art of Summering Global GalleryIf you have a digital offering (art, poetry, nature photography, digital art, or music), please send it to me by September 7th.

Poetry Friday friends, please add your links below. I am posting early because my family was invited to an after-Labor Day get-together tonight. I will add comments to my roundup guests' posts tomorrow and throughout the weekend. I wish everyone a joyful weekend!  Carol

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

My Path

Donna Smith, the host of Spiritual Journey first Thursday chose My Path as her topic for this month. She asked our writing community to ponder how the paths we've taken led us to where we are today. 

Looking back upon my life, I believe there has been an element of choice in the paths I have walked but I cannot say that every pathway has been of my choosing. In many instances, life has intersected my plans and wishes and forced me to take an alternate route. While patience is not my strong suit, I have leaned on faith and hope to guide me through the rocky roads onto a clearing. Within those clearings, I have found that "Learning to live in the present moment is part of the path of joy." (Sarah Ban Breathnach)

Walking on the road of learning
I reflect on a lesson: to
find time to live
mindfully in
the world, to uncover the
brilliance of the present,
the sparkle of a moment-
a single quest that is
accomplished in part
as I inhale the breath of
nature and the richness of the
seasons while traveling a path,
discovering the power of
one limitless word - joy!
©CV, 2017 

Did you notice that the ending word of each line of my poem led to Breathnach's words of wisdom?

Another inspirational quote I found to light my path:

"In the summer, the song sings itself."  - William Carlos Williams

I bask in nature's majesty
recalling the lull of ocean waves
roaring in harmony against
the dissonance of seagulls
shrieking across endless sky.
I listen in hushed silence for
summer to sing its waning song.
I linger awhile recalling whirling 
sounds spinning across pathways,
receding shorelines filled with the
echoes of frolicking children.
I listen to nature's sounds without regret.
Summer may pass on but there will be new
pathways of promise appearing ahead.

I've traveled different paths each season, 
held onto treasured moments, lingering
in their memories, for they have been
the nourishment my soul craves. 
©CV, 2017 


Writing is a journey similar to the pathways of life I cross. There are detours, revelations, and stops along the way. I often reach a destination and interact in ways not planned before finding a single moment in time to savor. Paths continue to curve; I meander, follow bends, and move beyond boundaries. With grace guiding me, I have learned to grow as a learner of life noticing, wondering, and recording.
Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.
Proverbs 4:26
May all !our paths be filled with joy, even the rocky ones that we do not understand. 


Celebrate a Summer State of Mind

The day opened with a sky filled with bright sunshine. An intense warmth enveloped every living object so when my husband suggested, "Let's go to the beach," we quickly readied ourselves for the short jaunt. While the calendar read Labor Day, the official day the beaches close, we were not ready to say goodbye to summer. Off we went!

Others were not letting go of summer either as evidenced by the packed parking lot. Children were chatting away under the coolness of the outdoor showers and families were unloading their cars with beach paraphernalia. Rows of lifeguard chairs were stacked in the area in front of the dunes.

I paused for a moment to photograph the lifeguard chairs in need of an end-of-summer overhaul, thinking here in the sand lay the hope that summer continues on.

Like a group of pioneers crossing the desert with heavy possessions, beachgoers trudged through the expanse of sand leading to the shoreline. The sun's rays were heating the sand to the point that sandals were needed every inch of the way. I stopped to rest a bit before continuing the heated walk. As my feet sank into the sand, I remembered what a beach medic told me a few summers ago. "Be careful when walking in the sand on a hot day. You can easily get feet burns from the heated sand." 

Once happily situated near the shore, I edged my toes in the sand, enjoyed the breeze whipping past me, and continued to read my beach book, The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner

Ah! What can be better than a summer state of mind?

I hope you enjoyed a summer state of mind as I did but like Charlie Brown, 
I say, "Sigh...there goes another summer, Snoopy!"
 Slice of Life
Slice of Life at Two Writing Teachers
Celebrate This Week with Ruth Ayres

Monday, September 3, 2018

Labor Day in Rockville Centre

Labor Day is always a festive holiday in my hometown. People celebrate with barbecues at the beach clubs or in their backyards. It is a time for families and friends to gather together, enjoy each other's company, and share remembrances of summer days. Since I live near the Long Island South Shore beaches, beaching is a topic of interest but the significance of Labor Day is usually not remarked upon so I decided to research the history. 

Each holiday or season I place antique postcards from my ephemera collection in the entranceway of my home as a decoration. Since I do not have a specific one for Labor Day, I searched the web and found the following image.

Vintage Labor Day
In 1894, Labor Day officially became a national holiday celebrating American workers and the labor movement. As the U.S. Department of Labor says, "It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country." My grandparents, mother, and my husband's father were part of the workforce. I honor and celebrate their efforts. 

"Labour will refresh itself with hope."  
(a line from a vintage card)

One of my poet friends, Diane Mayr, wrote a blog post, "What Work Is," for Poetry Friday this week. You may be interested in reading the poem by Philip Levine that can be accessed  here.

On the beach of Coney Island (1901)
Parades and picnics have marked the passage of time since the turn of the 20th century. Beachgoers flock to the shore for the last days of summer vacation whether it is sunny or not, as noted by the above antique photo card. Beside Coney Island, Jones Beach that opened in 1929 is a popular place for beaching. 

While I thought I would not be a beachgoer today, my husband woke to the thought, "Let's go to the beach." Soon we will head out for the ritual trip to Point Lookout beach and then return to Rockville Centre for the annual Labor Day barbecue at the Rockville Links Club. Each year of my children's lives, we attended the festivities there. This year, my friends invited us to the barbecue that will bring back fond memories of the cotton candy cart, grilled hot dogs, an array of different foods, and a table of rich desserts. Enjoy your Labor Day holiday. I know I will.

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.