Reflections are important. They provide a glimpse of who we really are, not who we think we are, or what others think of us, nor what we are to become. It is a moment, those seconds of reflection, when you look and see a sliver of reality – whether that be in a mirror or the water or a piece of shiny, clean glass.
This year, I’ve done more reflection than ever. Through those moments of reflection I’ve seen myself not only who I am at that moment but also who I was – a glimpse of a relative, a smile with family ties, a mother of three, a wife, a sister, a daughter, and a friend. But, my reflection does not show the other reflections I’ve had – other roles in my life – now gone but held within me and not seen in the water’s edge, mirror, or glass.
We all wear many hats over the course of our lifetime, therefore, there is much more to a reflection than what we see on the surface.
On Wednesday, this week, I received two books from Sarah Grace Tuttle, a fellow Poetry Friday participant. I was the fortunate winner of a book giveaway she recently held on her blog. The books she chose to send me were based on my comments about meter and verse. Sarah has a great instructional piece on examining one’s rhyme schemes in metered poetry. Be sure to check it out if you missed it.
While I want to do a bang-up job describing both books she sent, (they were both great choices) I am only going to discuss one of the books today. When I read, whether it is poetry, a novel, or non-fiction, I am always looking for connections to the story or information. The connections I found in the books Sarah sent me were quickly and easily discerned.
Before She Was Harriet, written by Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by James. W. Ransome, published in 2017, is a book about Harriet Tubman’s life. Tubman has long been a favorite historical figure of mine. You see, I grew up outside of Rochester New York, where the Underground Railroad had routes to help get travelers to Canada. As I’m sure you know, Tubman was a Conductor on the Underground Railroad, ushering many to safety and freedom.
There is even a church in the town where I grew up that was said to have a door that accessed the Underground Railroad. Here are some of the places in the Rochester, New York area that helped former slaves to freedom.
So Immediately, I had a connection to this book. But my other, more significant connection, is one of wearing many hats over the course of one’s life. Tubman’s life is depicted in the book in sparse lyrical text using her “many hats” from being an old woman to the Conductor most of us learned about to some more surprising roles. She was a nurse, a spy, a General, a suffragist, as well as that Conductor! She had other names as well, being born Araminta, known as Minty, and Harriet and, even Moses.
Harriet Tubman had compassion and leadership skills. She was wily and smart, cautious but a risk-taker, traits that would have history remember her well. Above all, she was brave. She was brave enough to put her own life on the line for others. She learned to read stars from her father and took what she learned to help others. You learn of Harriet’s Life and roles beyond that of those she is most famous for in this beautifully written and illustrated book. (Thank you, Sarah Grace Tuttle!) I would highly recommend it, especially for an elementary classroom.
Over the course of my life, as I’ve reflected, I’ve also worn many hats. Here are some that are not obvious from those I shared earlier.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
Crafter of Curriculum and Outdoor Learning Lessons
Researcher (for my graduate work)
Outreach Event Coordinator
All of the roles (hats) came easily to mind and would be named by others who know me well, or who I’ve taught, or treated. They came to me as I evolved as an adult and a person. The reflections have me working on a poem of my own, not yet in meter – but with some verse and rhyme – that describes my reflections at different points in my life. Below the photos is an excerpt from the middle of the poem so far. It is a WIP and the one stanza will repeat throughout.
I see a musician Trying her best To learn all the notes And be better than the rest. If I look in the water What will I see In the reflection Staring back at me? Now a young nurse Wearing her whites Trotting off across town While it’s still night. If I look in the water What will I see In the reflection Staring back at me? © WIP Draft, Carol Labuzzetta, 2022, All Rights Reserved.
Today is Poetry Friday. Catherine Flynn is our host at Reading to the Core. Thank you for hosting Catherine. Please stop back in the next couple of weeks for another review of the second book Sarah Grace gifted me. Thank you!