17. Poetry

Betty has been the crossing-guard at a local school for over 40 years. Every morning and afternoon during the school year she’s in front of the school dressed neatly in a uniform and wearing her signature white hat. And if you ever stop to watch her or talk to her, you’ll find her to be just as spry and alert as ever. In that sort of job you need to be. I mean it must take a good amount of confidence and command to step out into traffic with only a hand-held stop sign and a whistle to control the situation.


I’m sure that over the years Betty has seen times when things didn’t go as planned, but as far as I know, there has never been an accident or injury under her watch. I wonder just how many children Betty has assured safe crossing over the years?


It’s comforting to look out in the world and find that some things just don’t seem to change that much. The sun, the moon and the stars give us the constant heartbeat in the universe, and the landscape’s features such her hills and mountains, rivers and valleys are part of the natural beauty that we all enjoy throughout our lives. It’s the shorter-lived things, like plants and trees and animals that remind us of change and endings, just as does the passing of generations of people.


For me there’s a “sweet” sadness in such change. I want the good things to last forever, don’t you? It’d suit me just fine if Betty could continue to help those children cross the street every school day. But I know that won’t happen. She’s getting old, and there will come the day when she’s no longer able to hold that job. The sweetness is in looking back over her many years on the job and realizing how she touched so many lives, even mine. You see, Betty was the crossing guard when I was in elementary school. And I remember it well: holding that sign high and assuring that all was safe, she would lead us into the crosswalk and wish us a good day. 


Day 17 Guide


Today, think about change, and take time to think about the many people who have touched your life. Think of their influence, their love – their example. Possibly even take a little time to write to someone you admire or trust.


© 2005, Levi Hill

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