Kind of Blue

Friday is for throwing out a week of stale chord progressions for a good pair of jeans. It’s for playing with scales and avoiding the usual trappings of key changes.

Fridays are my Kind of Blue.

The sky had just put on a soft robe of periwinkle when I got to school. A slow breeze stirred, and I felt a promising movement in the crisp September air.

Or maybe it was my third shot of espresso.

I turned the key and opened my door. Silhouettes of desks were sleeping in a glassy sheet of blue. Light had flooded over the tiled floor, and now it looked brand new.

Or maybe it was last night’s custodians.

And then my sneakers squeaked across it as I walked toward my desk. I sat down and swiveled through morning routines and stacks of clean-edged exams, but two open windows kept pulling me in another direction.

Or maybe it was the jazz.

I watched a long string of melody come together as school busses, scooters and morning commuters merged into a familiar parking lot arrangement. Each note soon found its place among the bright lines of a yellow staff.

Or maybe it was the timbre of the saxophone.

The Jazz Messengers were “Doodlin” in my room, while colors slowly turned and sharpened into focus beyond the window. The rising sun smeared alternating gold, goldenrod, and then maize across the young trees. Some whispered of autumn. But within minutes, the colors fell and muted into the grey asphalt.

But then Miles Davis stood up with his trumpet and asked a famous question.

“So What?”

I answered with a poem. Switching up my lesson plans, I began class with a poem, which confused most of my students, I think. But they still snapped their fingers when I finished.

Friday rhythms usually sound Kind of Blue — when we hear them.

12 thoughts on “Kind of Blue

  1. I love the way you used jazz and the Friday atmosphere in your classroom in comparison. My daughter is a middle school teacher and she would totally relate to this especially “Scout”. She teaches a section on it every year. I’ll be back. Thanks for visiting my site today.

  2. I’m not much of a music person, but my dad is. I grew up hearing jazz all the time — records playing loud in the house, especially before my parents’ dinner parties. Miles was always in the que. This post made me smile…especially the thought of poetry, jazz and a room full of high school students on a Friday. Cool.

    • Cool? “A room full of high school students on a Friday”? Maybe you ought to visit my classroom as a professional speaker. On a Friday. You may find yourself looking for a jazzy escape, too! No, you’re so right: it’s very cool!

      Thanks so much for your comments here — as well as on your blog, which is a real treat, by the way. Your writing always points back at honest eyes. And a soul to match! blessings

    • “The Glass and the Bowl” by Louise Eldrich. The poem was definitely out of the blue for my students, who were expecting to wrap up Scout’s view from the porch — where’s there’s nothing left to learn, “except possibly algebra.”

      But the beauty of relationships is that they rattle with complex rhythms, a modal jazz that’s messy, beautiful and “kind of blue”.  In the poem, the speaker finds the same color in a full glass of white milk, despite an empty bowl — and the sometimes “absence/ of refuge in the design.”

      But on Friday? The poem was just for jazz!

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