Recently as I traveled into the deep and lonely reaches of our local flyover landscape, I came upon an old schoolhouse. It immediately called up memories of my parents’ recollections of their rural education in similar one- room school houses. The building also reminded me of my education in one and two room educational facilities of my own youth. The incredible dedication of those solitary teachers is also remarkable, as I again think back to my mother’s experience as a teacher in such a school.
These old school houses are scattered throughout our country landscape and remind me of the high value that has always been placed upon education and the great effort to educate our children, no matter how far from the beaten path they might live.
The crumbling ruins of a similar old school-house inspired the words of the following poem:
The Country School
School’s out, taunting voices spread
To greening hills.
A silence fills, the teacher sighs;
A pile of papers, chalk dust hands.
Contentment in the smell
Of someone’s rotting lunch.
The hunch-back floor and graying siding
Slowly finding oneness with the dust.
She knows she must retrieve the flag,
And walks between the crooked desks.
An opened door contests the rankness
Of the empty room.
Greening in the cracked steps that lead away
She gazes after loitering kids,
Bids them to the rolling land from where they came
And fades behind their long-forgotten names. From “Flyover Seasons” North Star Press, 2011