Day 7: A Woman

I teach Rhetoric 2 to sophomores at Logos School here in Moscow, Idaho, and every year around this time, I assign the (now famous) Journal Project. The Journal Project consists of 30 days of journal entries on the same topic. The students are given one day off each week, so we complete the Journal Project over the course of five weeks (writing six days each week). Only this year my students asked me to do the Journal Project with them. So here we go… My topic is my family.

Day 7

In the beginning was a girl. She had blonde hair with locks hanging down her back. She grew up strong in the humid air of the mid Atlantic. Evenings catching fireflies and mornings chasing tad poles in the creek behind her house. And afternoons and weekends crabbing in the Chesapeake Bay with aunts and uncles and grandparents and cousins. She was made from walks in the hills with her dad, and drives down windy New England roads with stories of the past filling the air she breathed. The dense deciduous canopy shaded her smooth, pale skin, and drenched her with its dew. Sandy summer beaches polished, camping trips burnished, while Civil War reenactments glistened, and the Appalachian Mountains did their part too. I met her when she was still a girl, still laughing and giggling with friends, just on the edge of womanhood. I saw her and couldn’t stop watching, wondering, starring, and I’m still entranced to this day.

You can’t plan a woman. You can’t build one and market her – like they do in the magazines and movies. Those are cheap knock-offs – someone’s daughter has been cheated out of life. But I think you can raise a woman, like my father-in-law somehow did three times. You can make a safe, warm place for these glory creatures to grow and flourish and thrive. I believe it takes warm air and insects, boat rides and hikes in the woods, vacations to the beach and stories of long ago, dress ups and car rides. These ingredients stick to the soul, hug the hair, and line the lips with sweetness that cannot be packaged, cannot be copied, grace that makes a woman strong and lovely and fierce.

 

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