Alternate Route

hand turkey artOne of my dad’s great­est sat­is­fac­tions in life is iden­ti­fy­ing an alter­nate dri­ving route. His eyes shine as he describes the intri­cate twists and turns that will lead me along what­ev­er course is his newest dis­cov­ery. He’ll urge me to change the path I am com­fort­able with, even if it will only save me mere sec­onds, despite know­ing that I still rou­tine­ly get lost even after liv­ing in the same city for almost thir­ty years now.

At dif­fer­ent times over the last sev­er­al years, I’ve been grap­pling with a fam­i­ly member’s med­ical issues, and that has forced me to “change routes” as well. I’ve been feel­ing a lit­tle lost as the reg­u­lar pat­terns of my work and social life are disrupted.

But it’s also caused me to notice and appre­ci­ate things I might oth­er­wise over­look: boun­cy win­ter hol­i­days songs on the long dri­ves to doc­tor vis­its and treat­ments; my cat’s gen­tle snore as she waits for me to shut down the com­put­er after a mid­dle-of-the-night work ses­sion; the dan­de­lion-fluff soft­ness of my blan­ket when I final­ly curl into my night­time nest.

So, in that spir­it of thank­ful­ness for the lit­tle things that offer com­fort, here’s a “list poem” activ­i­ty for Thanks­giv­ing. It will encour­age your young writ­ers to make sure to use all five sens­es in their work, which is a sure route to mak­ing their writ­ing shine.

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