Counting My Blessings

(Art School Version)

In thirteen weeks,
I climbed 8,125 stairs,
from the underground parking
to my classroom on floor four.
Not that I’m counting.

Okay, I am.

125 per day. 6 flights.
5 mornings per week.
13 weeks.
Somedays more.

My phone keeps track—
13 flights on Friday,
12 on Thursday,
10 on Wednesday,
11 on Tuesday,
7 on Monday.

Each time,
my thighs burn,
my heart pounds,
I breathe hard—
but easier
through 13 weeks.
I’ve lost a pound or 2—
okay 8, depending on
when I weigh.
Not that I’m counting.

Okay, I am.
Blessings have a way
of hiding
you look.

I count more
around the school
Steps and blessings
and such great kids.

I don’t know
the girl
in the t-shirt
that says,
is the new cool.”
But I smile,
as does she.
Then my student
greets me,
“What up,
Mrs. Byers?”
Her good energy
spreads like fire.
I overhear another say,
is gonna be amazing.”
He catches my eye,
and his flicker.
I nod and hope
mine spark, too,
a torch to pass on.

There’s often time
in my day
for extra steps.
another blessing.

Music swells
in the stairwells
a flute trio,
a vocal solo.
My heart responds,
drawn by the pulse
of art and life.

One flight down,
Dancers in leotards
perfect techniques
at the barre.
And I—
stroll a little straighter,
if only in my head,
held a little higher,
past the studios,
past the tune of piano,
down another flight
to the art gallery
to contemplate
lines and images,
color and messages.

There are days
I descend
two extra flights
exit the building,
walk a few city blocks
for lunch and fresh air
before ascending the stairs

back to floor four,
somedays to the fifth,
where rehearsals ensue

and my heart beats to
the Mariachi,
vocal, and

In a small practice room
with an open door,
my student sits
before a harp.
“I didn’t know
you play harp,”
I say.

“I don’t usually tell,"
says she,
and I leave
her to her secret
and take the stairs
back to my classroom
and prepare
for my last class
of Week Thirteen,
not to mention
Proud teacher moment. One of these kids slaying Pavane by Fauré is my student. Please click the link and enjoy!
On my classroom desk, “One Minute with God.” Thank you, Becky! And Happy Thanksgiving, Everybody!

66 thoughts on “Counting My Blessings

    1. Bridget, I admit, I borrowed that line from my “One Minute with God” flip calendar and yesterday’s entry. I snapped a photo. I should probably add it to this post.

      Side note: A friend from school gave me the calendar after reading my 10/29 post “When God Speaks.” So—God speaks every day!

      Liked by 4 people

  1. Blessings have a way of hiding themselves until you look- that stood out for me. Well done on climbing all those stairs and making the choice to be healthy. Have a wonderful thanksgiving Crystal 💙

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Manu! I updated my post to show that I found that line yesterday—on my classroom desk. Conveniently the elevator was out of order for a few weeks, and I’ve learned that the stairs take me about three minutes. I can do anything for three minutes. 💙

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Hey there Crystal, Excellent essay. I have a Precious Moments figure of a Turkey and a little boy sharing a bowl of cereal. The caption is “Happy Thanksgiving” Like that turkey, we all have so much to be thankful for and that includes your great teaching and writing. All the besy – Happy Thanksgiving. Jerry

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are such an inspiration, Crystal! In this lovely post, I was impressed by the undercurrent of Spirit as seen through the exchange of love and respect shared by you and your students. As is evident, whenever we take the time to stop and consider, God is always at work in and through us. Sending the sweetest of Blessings and very much Love, Betty. 💞


  4. This entire poem makes me smile. The heart beating, the heavy breathe, the strength as the weeks pass, the interactions with students, and walking to clear your thoughts, you pull me gently into your world and blessings. I’m so proud of you Crystal! Hugs, C


  5. Gorgeous, Crystal!

    You begin weaving a fabric dense with numbers. Within its structure a routine emerges, a persistence. The struggle and the discomfort are counted; they’re unavoidable in their black and white starkness. Yet so is your determination. You will advance.

    Thus summoned, a note, rising above the huffing and into the sunshine. Music. Then, a smile returned. A life touched and a future inspired. Your day, your teaching, your entirety – all answer this truer narrative. As each second ticks away, so do the numbers. Gravity holds them. They’re lead.

    Not so your vision, hopes and dreams. Light and vibrant, they soar. Your words triumphing with them, Crystal.


  6. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post. I enjoyed your poem, the quote, and the flutists. I’m sure not every day is perfect, but how wonderful to teach in a school that prizes creativity!


    1. This past week, my kids read “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Instead of traditional discussion, I divided the story into six parts, and the groups wrote Shrinklits (meaning they “shrink” the “literature” into a poem). What these kids can create with a Google Doc and 20 minutes is amazing!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and lovely poetry!!.. no doubt the students and others think very highly of you and use you as a role model because you are a caring and wise teacher..“The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.” (Kahlil Gibran )… 🙂

    Hope you and your family have the mostest, bestest, wonderfulest Happiest Thanksgiving ever and until we meet again..
    May love and laughter light your days,
    and warm your heart and home.
    May good and faithful friends be yours,
    wherever you may roam.
    May peace and plenty bless your world
    with joy that long endures.
    May all life’s passing seasons
    bring the best to you and yours!
    (Irish Saying)


    1. Thank you, Richard! I’m nearing the end of first semester, and the stairs are now part of the daily routine. Last year I maybe took all six flights once or twice, so I’m feeling proud of myself.


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