All the Montessori Books

By sheer luck or perfect providence or simple coincidence, the day I called the Montessori School about a job was the same day a full time assistant had quit without notice. They would be thrilled to hire me back to fill the position, the Head of School told me over the phone while my heart began to beat again. We set a start date, hung up, and I stared at the bulletin board trying to collect myself. It hung on the wall of a coffee shop in a strip mall outside town. I had driven there in a gold 1994 Honda Civic on twenty-four hour loan from the mechanic. It was December in Idaho. My car was totaled, I’d just learned I was pregnant, and I was going back to my hometown.

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Dispatches from the South: Thirteen-Year Cicadas, Donald Trump, and Intimate Violence

local-aircraft

Seven years ago I cleaned the bedrooms of an Appalachian craft school: labor in trade for classes in basket weaving. Framed on one of the walls was a black and tan drawing of a cloud of cicadas, wings outstretched and illuminated in scientific detail. Underneath the drawing the script read: “Cicada song: you are the heartbeat of the South, my dying mother.”

On early evenings most summers, in this Southern Appalachian valley where I live, you can hear the sound of cicadas screaming. At times the sound is so loud, people stop their conversations and turn their eyes to the trees, looking for the bullet shaped insects. Sometimes you see one clinging to the bark, betraying itself with a grating wail. Other times, when the trees are full in the evening, the rise and fall is much like a mother’s heartbeat to her unborn baby; it’s everywhere and everything, inescapable and indispensable, all at the same time.

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