She was a fashion statement unlike our mothers or other women in our lives. From her tight Levis and earth shoes to her granny skirts and espadrilles, she might as well have worn a sign on her forehead that said “young and cool”. Who could compete with utter hipness and Peace Corp stories of Africa? The more Miss Hunter shared of her personal life, the deeper we dug for more.
That summer I stayed at my sister’s apartment in the town where this teacher lived. She picked me up and took me to the library. She helped me fill out the information for my first library card. We spent hours reading poetry. I adored the way the words rolled off her tongue and gently hung in the air. I checked out Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Robert Frost.
Miss Hunter let me finger the textures of the vibrant African fabrics at her apartment. I traced the smoothness of wooden African sculptures. She told me of helping people in the village and all the babies who were named various forms of Betty in her honor. I dreamed of being Betty Hunter. I wove a glamorous dream of African life…some how, mosquitoes, poor living conditions, and hard work never entered my mind.
Throughout the day, I clung to every word she spoke. It was as if I was fed by morsels in the air. For the first time, I not only heard the words of her stories and poems, but I lived them on a level I’d never experienced.
I took my books home with me and absorbed myself in the rhythm of words that flowed like Miss Hunter’s wavy dark tresses. I was between words and worlds as I found a place of peace within myself. As Robert Frost said, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”
I wish to thank my role model, Betty, for the magical gift of word. I’ve waded, floated, and swam a stream of words for nearly forty years. The cadence and significance of language has sent me on inner journeys, healed wounds, and created harmony in my life. Through the love of words, I’ve found my voice which has led me to my spirit.
The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Poem Credit: http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-road-not-taken/
Photo Image Credit: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5021/5739209760_968d60715a.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.weby.ch/fotos/potpourri/real-women.php&h=300&w=274&sz=39&tbnid=OIOg-v9LGRp_KM:&tbnh=105&tbnw=96&zoom=1&docid=YhyVfsp1Y6hfvM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=EKR1T4GyE4io8gTni_CSBA&ved=0CHkQ9QEwBg&dur=2294
Spin Cycle: Role Model
Living in the Gap
March 30, 2012 – Welcome to the day
The lush green of the lawn invites me to step in and get my toes wet. The golden rays of early sun push their way through an azure sky. Though I’m warm in the sun, the crisp air paints gooseflesh across my arms. Various tweets and chirps blend to a single song until CAW CAW CAW drowns the melody of morning.