Reading Backwards


For the past couple of years, when Park Elementary School is in session, i read with a little boy named Demarcus on Thursday mornings. Sometimes we go to the library, sometimes to the teachers’ lounge, sometimes to a random place on the hallway floor. Demarcus, a second grader, is a good reader. To hear him patiently and methodically sound out an unfamiliar word is to behold nothing less than a miracle, the same miracle that grown-ups manifest whenever they read words.

i usually let Demarcus choose whatever book he would like to read. Recently, he selected one about a squirrel.  It had very few pages, and the pages had very few words. The story, start to finish, was probably less than 20 sentences. Demarcus blew through it pretty easily. Too easily.

“Demarcus, that was great. You are getting so good at reading. And i really like how how you sound out the words, like ‘car-di-nal;’ that was excellent. But you know what? i have an idea.  i think we should read the book again. Only let’s do something different this time. Let’s read it … backwards. Let’s start on the last page, with the last word, and read it all the way to the first page and the first word.

Same words. Same story.

But this time, we laughed. The phrases were surprising and whimsical. Demarcus loved it.

“tree the up ran squirrel The.”

You should try it sometime.  …

Another year already? 2017? Really?

I can report that, in 2016, while i was a very poor blogger, i managed to write a journal entry everyday of the year. 365 entries. It might actually be more diary than journal, in that i wasn’t very reflective in my writing. Whatever it was, the platform forced me, at the end of each day, to recall who i’d seen, where i’d been, what i’d done, and what i had experienced. It made me realize how much can be squeezed into a single day. And how forgetful i am.

This past week, i’ve been reading backwards, randomly revisiting the 2016 from 3 volumes of memory — reliving days rich in conversation, days wearisome with travel, days exhausting with good labor, days in court and studio and forest, days’ colorful with season, days quiet with thoughtfulness and books. Good chance you were somewhere in those pages.

It has lead to gratitude.

To laughter.

To worship.

It sends me into the year ahead hopeful and resolute.

“Rightly things right the love and year this better do will i.”

Forgive my long absence from the blog. Don’t know why i find it so hard to sit down and write something from time to time. Will try to be more diligent.  …   Happy New Year to you.