noticing Within the past six months, the library has installed motion-sensors on the lighting in its basement — where the books live on row upon row of metal stacks — so that as I walk up and down the aisles, I bring literal enlightenment with each step. It’s an apt image, I feel, for the ideal of academia: the teacher whose very presence brings illumination. It’s a contrast to every day classroom realities, with the teacher struggling toward coherence, and finding sometimes, even at her most coherent moments, bewildered bafflement or stodgy insensibility in the faces before her. magnolia Today I notice that the magnolia trees are dropping their seed-pods, fuzzy and brown, on the sidewalks and grass. I’ve never noticed these as a part of October before, but today I’m adding them to my list of October-things. I remember a magnolia tree behind my church when I was in middle school. It had wide, low branches, perfect for timid people like me, and strong branches higher up, so that one of my best friends could climb up and look triumphantly out of the very top of the tree. But I don’t remember its seeds. Today, I’m seeing seeds rather than trees. From the fuzzy brown pods they emerge red and lovely, scattered on the sidewalks sometimes, or just peeping out, not yet released, hints of growth to come. If they’re allowed to grow, it will be many long years before their branches can support adventurous children. But the long wait is not time wasted, and effort of making seeds is a worthwhile effort. ©2014 by Stacy Nott

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