Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fluffing Up for Winter & Poem #231

Puffy Mr. Fluffles 
(Angora Rabbit)
Photo by Georgia LV

Fluffy Rainbow 
(Icelandic Sheep)
Photo by Amy LV

The other day, my husband Mark was giving our dog Cali a good neck scratch, and he commented, "Wow, she's really getting in her winter coat!  She feels so different than she did a couple of months ago."  And it's true.  We've been noticing that all of our animals are getting just a wee bit puffier, fluffier, ready for snow.  It's too late to have the sheep shorn even if we wanted to, and it's getting late to pluck Mr. Fluffles too.  It's time to order coats for Hope, Georgia, and Henry, and it's time to fill our shelves with hot cocoa and marshmallows.  Winter is blowing into our keyhole from not-so-far away.

Students - once again, you might have noticed that this poem grew from something someone else said, something Mark said.  I encourage you to be a listener this week, to listen to those around you as a friend and family member but also as a writer, to ask your quiet self, "Hmmm...is there something writer-useful here?"  If a comment pops up in your mind a couple of times, go ahead and write it into your notebook.  The piece may grow today, and it might grow another day.  By saving such small observations of spoken language, you feather your own writing nest with ideas and gathered musings.

For more information about animals preparing for winter, here's a great old TIME FOR KIDS.  I didn't know that lobsters migrate!  And for a long list of books and resources about hibernation, check out Tricia's generous post at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

To hear Rachel Field's beautiful poem-turned-song, "Something Told the Wild Geese", listen to young Shannon sing both parts on this YouTube clip.  When I taught fifth grade, our students performed this song, and it has stayed with me for the past twelve years.

(Please click on COMMENTS below to share a thought.)


  1. Toby, thank you so much for your generous comment. I was wondering about that repeated stanza. Somehow it just felt soft, so I went for it.

    And Rainbow is a true beauty. She was really born under a rainbow, and our only black sheep too. We're trying to breed her right now. Fingers crossed.

    Mr. Fluffles does get plucked! He loves it, just sits as still as can be. When we are too late, he becomes Matty Mr. Fluffles. Actually, we pull the sheep's wool off in spring too. (But not the cats' fur...ouch!) That aerial photo Georgia took cracked me up. He looks eyeless!

    I will be thinking about our hotel slumber party this weekend at NCTE...wishing you were there.

  2. I too love that repeated stanza...it conveys the cycle of seasons, and snow falling on snow. Layers. It's perfect.


  3. Melissa, Thank you! I love "snow falling on snow"... It's getting close to that time 'round these parts. Would you like some flakes sent in an envelope or mounds sent in a box?