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Emily Grossman

Spontaneous Combustion

May 22, 2008 at 9:17 AM

Spring couldn’t come soon enough. Another cold winter put a delay on the ground breaking, and for a while there, I was nervous that we wouldn’t get any spring at all. Friends began cracking jokes about bypassing summer altogether and heading back into winter, but I just didn’t think that was so funny. It made the top of my head hurt, like it was pressing against a wall that wouldn’t budge.

Week after week as I headed down to Homer to teach, I thought about progress and just how I could make it happen. In this case, I wanted progress in the form of springy, functional bow hands. “Let me see your bow hold.” A hundred times or more I’ve repeated this, whether addressing buckling thumbs, creeping fingers, or pinkies in flight. Each week, I scribbled out a new prescription for finger strokes, pencil pushing, table top tricks and more, hoping to get the bow to spring just right. Were we getting anywhere at all? Every week felt the same, and it made the top of my head hurt, like it was pressing against a wall that wouldn’t budge.

Then, all in one day, the bow hold started coming together and the leaves pushed out of their fuzzy sweaters to take in some sun. Could it be that warmer temperatures had been working underground all along, causing the sap to rise and the motivation to surge? I don’t know. It felt kind of like magic, though. Relief surged through my veins as I traveled home through the green mist.

Around here, spring feels like spontaneous combustion, but I know better; I saw all the little exercises that went into its arrival. Although, I sometimes wonder if these things don’t just happen all on their own at the right time and under the right circumstances. If this is the case, it would save me a headache or two thinking about it.

From Yixi Zhang
Posted on May 22, 2008 at 3:02 PM
Beautiful! Insightful! Thanks for sharing!
From Tasha Miner
Posted on May 23, 2008 at 10:22 PM
When usual tricks don't work, I enjoy encouraging my students to "over-do" whatever their "bad" habit is, to feel how it's restricting, and then go the other way and ask them to make the corrections I'm recommending. Usually only takes one week of work & practice after that!

I completely agree with your post. This time 2 years ago, we were in 95 degree weather setting up a fence in our backyard. Go figure.

I love your use of language. =)

From Emily Grossman
Posted on May 23, 2008 at 11:33 PM
Most of the problem is working with students who don't follow my instructions. It would help if they would practice... ;)

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