A dreary walk in the woods … then magic

Saturday dawned gray, cold, and wet. A light mist eased through the forest at my university. But a day walking in the woods with a camera is a good day, no matter the weather, right?

The university was on holiday break. Students had fled home to give thanks with family and friends. I did, too, but returned early.

The deeply overcast sky dictated a flat, low-contrast aspect to the trees and trails in the forest. I looked down. At least I can shoot leaves, now wet and trodden. I like to shoot leaves. A little Photoshop would add hue and color contrast to them, I thought.

But the gray and the cold and the mist cut into my coat and mind. I shivered. Bummer. A dark day growing darker. Melancholy arrived and tapped on my shoulder. I turned and shuffled back onto the main trail, intent on returning to my truck. My Canon hung unused from its strap around my neck. I hate the interregnum between seasons: no leaves on the trees, no snow on the ground.

Franciscans have walked through these woods for more than a century and a half. Franciscans like nature and apparently thrive in it. They have, over the life of the university, constructed stations of the cross on a circular trail in this forest — Bob’s Woods, named after Fr. Bob Stewart, who died of cancer shortly after my arrival at the university.

I am not a Franciscan. I am not as hopeful as they appear to be. Dank, dark weather like this day’s further eroded my ability to detect hope.

Then I saw …
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#HopeTuesday—Election Day Special

At the polls it wasn’t ‘us’ and ‘them’, just us…

When you went to the polls today you didn’t just vote on your own behalf, you voted for all of us. You voted for people you don’t know and will never know, people like the folks I encountered in passing today while earning my own miniscule piece of the American Dream as a substitute high school teacher.

Mary works at Macy’s and sang with Sal Carson’s big bands for 21 years

(7-11, El Camino Real @ South San Francisco High School)

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Be school

“Let us go forward together with our united strength.” #HopeTuesday

So my teaching assignment on Halloween was to manage five periods of world and American history. Toward the end of second period, around 10 a.m., one of my students whipped out this mask, put it on, and just sat quietly at his desk. And since he had finished the classwork anyway, I let him roll with it. And Churchill didn’t seem to mind.

Yes, yes, I know, Guy Fawkes was a treasonous bomber whose religious motivations seem uncomfortably plausible in our current age of terrorism. But he’s come to represent a righteous, anti-oppression kind of protest, and to see some affinity for that in a modern-day American high school is kind of what #HopeTuesday is all about.

(I’m a substitute high school teacher. The photograph is from my pictorial teaching diary. See it here.)


A lunch lady blues

Show her some respect…

I am the goddess

you never pray to.

I am the mother

who forced your father to suckle you.

I give you food,

every day,

I feed your arrogance.

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