How did I come to own so many earrings? At some point in the last twenty years, I started seeking earrings that correlated with topics I teach. Science teaching offered such a wealth of inspiration! And as my collection grew, contributions followed.
Although my husband John often sighs, "You have enough earrings...," it is now said in playful anticipation of my reply, "I could never have enough earrings." For me, earrings have become symbolic of the fullness of life. Through each pair, I remember the giver or the seller; I recall where I received the gift or made the purchase. Almost daily, someone (often a student) asks about my earrings, allowing me to reminisce about lessons taught, about field trips and vacations, about students, friends, and family members.
Today, my choice was a challenge, since today I am at home and have no plans to venture out. I don't want to wear a pair that some other one of the year's 364 days would merit. Today is 1/1/11; I briefly searched for vertical 1-like earrings. Then my gaze alighted on a wavy pair punctuated with aqua, blue and purple seed beads, made for me by my daughter Käthe one summer afternoon when we sat together in the shade of a white pine at our picnic table. They dangle from my ears, each a thin wire that meanders, dotted with my favorite colors, hopeful emblems of the year ahead.