Last summer, I shot this photo near Boston, Massachusetts, just before Independence Day. I think I intended saving it for the next Fourth of July, but the tragic events of this week have me reflecting on our strengths and it feels appropriate today. To be able to look at fear and respond with humanity and action is what this flag symbolizes to me. There is pain, suffering and the realization that each of us as an individual can choose to do right by others rather than wringing our hands and asking “Why us?” . This is the measure of who we are as a people and a country. All those that took action, offered help in what ever way they could, and made a difference , set the example. We are a nation of individuals who can accomplish so much when we act rather than complain to and about each other. Those that cause suffering need not be understood, just denounced and recognized as inhuman. For each negative act, a positive one will take away its power. As a people, we still have decisions to make and a course to set .
Tag Archives: United States
Running Away Part 2 : Memorial Park Cemetery Crystal Grotto
Many might choose Paris or Istanbul as a runaway destination. Having only a few hours on a Sunday afternoon and an expired passport eliminated those possibilities. Instead, Memorials Park Cemetery was my destination, a road trip of about eight miles.The cemetery is home to the Crystal Grotto and its fantasy shaped structures.I chose my infrared camera because it would accentuate the otherworldly feel . I viewed the cave and tree as imaginary housing, fit for visiting sprites or hobbits.
The faux bois structures suit the park well and it’s hard to believe they are cement.A folk artist from Mexico, Dionicio Rodriguez created the vision from his imagination. Hired by the cemetery’s founder, Clovis Hinds, Rodriguez earned $75.00 per week over a ten year period during the Depression. His creations are dream – like and religiously significant.
Working in steel and copper to form supports, the structures were formed in cement over wire. Using his hands, twigs and dinner utensils for tools, he simulated wood structures that suggest fairies and woodland creatures.Calling his work, “el trabajo rustic”, Rodriguez built Abraham’s Oak that towers 15 feet tall and 9 feet in diameter.
There is the Cave of Machpelah which is named for a burial cave from the Holy Land. The reflecting pool is the Pool of Hebron, and the Grotto appears as a mountain shaped form which houses the crystal cave. All are entirely hand-built. Walking into the cave you are stunned to find formations of limestone, rock quartz crystal and cement forming backgrounds for murals of scenes of the life of Jesus.
The artwork and grotto are on the National Register of Historic Places.
Mentally moving into the imaginative structures provided a needed break. I returned home energized and without expense or jet lag.
Lessons for the First Day of School from the Circus
Hard to believe that two months passed in the blink of an eye and that our students return today. Growing up in New York, school always started the Monday after Labor Day. Not so, in the south. I can’t imagine how they handled it before schools were air-conditioned. Most of my friends are just gearing up for vacation and here we are : Vacation is over.
So by now you’ve made the basic analogy that school is like a circus act. Believe it or not that is not my real message. All of my goals for the year are here in this one photo.
1. To take chances – that I can help my students become unafraid of making mistakes or having the wrong answer.
2. To support creativity – that my students show their true colors and become themselves.
3. To strengthen cooperation – that we act as a team to support and learn from each other.
4. To love learning – that we develop the knowledge and skills to rise higher and survive in the real world.
5. To be strong – that when things become difficult, we hold on to someone for support and encouragement.
I hope to be that person.