Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Legacy

I went to a funeral for a former student from Delta Charter today. I was preparing for the worst, but it was a strangely joyous occasion.

The family had us all hold hands and introduce ourselves to the people around us, and then share our stories of this student. They then asked that instead of giving flowers, we make a pact to do something positive and or kind for someone else in our lives, and to remember Michael when we do it. It seemed like a really peaceful and regenerative way of sharing this young man's spirit with our own personal lives.

What really was nice for me was to be surrounded by my old Delta community of teachers and students running up and hugging me and saying that they missed me. I met with one of my old advisees, his girlfriend, and through teary eyes, she thanked me for coming.

Its just amazing to see how a tragedy can bring people together. For me, it made me realize the power of the school community that I was in.

My dad said that teachers leave a legacy, without even knowing it. And I agree, I was amazed to see these students slowing growing up, giving speeches about their friend and doing good things for themselves.

Now playing: Vetiver - Through the Front Door

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spring Break

After returning back to school after a week off, all at once I feel: bombarded, at peace, happy, and fatalistic. I am excited/worried about the year ending and I am happy to see (most) of my students.

The end of my week was spent at Joshua Tree National Park with my sister. Something about Joshua tree keeps drawing me back. It is a magical, mystical, place, that doesn't seem to belong to our world. My sister and I camped, rock-climbed, hiked, met some interesting folks, and spent some important bonding time. It was rejuvenating.

We ending up camping next to and making friends with some interesting people who had decided to make a life-altering change after losing both of their jobs. They sold their house and everything they had to buy a camper and some gear. They are on a extended vacation because of the economy. I thought it was a really great idea. If they had stayed home to harp on their situation, they would have never been able to experience the beauty and wisdom that comes from traveling the American Southwest.

Their website is we spent Easter morning with them eating a scrumptious shared breakfast under the dry desert sky. I think more and more people will be taking this path as the job situation worsens. I hope that, if anything it teaches us to look within ourselves and our communities for answers, not to the mega-corporations that employ us and then tear us apart. If people learn to back away from their money and technology and understand what sustenance requires, then we will all be able to grow through a new "depression." They were wonderful people and they inspired me to continue searching.

From Starred Photos

Today at school, I realized how wonderfully blessed I am to be able to travel during these short breaks. Many of my students haven't traveled farther then Salinas or San Jose. Their vacations are not about travel, they are about family and friends and helping out with family business. Maybe they have a lot to teach me too.

I will post more pictures after I edit them all.

Now playing: Gillian Welch - Revelator
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The photos

These pictures were supposed to accompany my last post. Oops.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tulip Petals

I was inspired by my friend Matt's blog for this post. I havent had a complete enough thought for an entire entry so I thought I would share some tidbits of my thoughts.

Even though Meghan hates the song, "The Book of Love" I think it is one of the most absolutely beautiful love songs ever written. Its recorded by The Magnetic Fields
Its simplicity and strangeness speaks to love like nothing else I've ever heard.

I love writing. I have been using the Freedom Writer's diary as a model for writing in my Advanced English class, and its bringing out so many incredible stories from all of the students, and interestingly it is also bringing out some great stories from me. I always write with the students to model what its like to write. There are a thousand stories that we carry with us and never really reflect upon.

This student walked in today and told me I get that book we're reading. I asked him what he meant. We are reading The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. He said, I know what poverty is. It sucks. Ive lived in a hotel room with 6 siblings. Ive had parents who are drug addicts, but love me more than anything. I told him thanks.

I started a garden. I don't know how it will do, but is such a peaceful thing to do with my time. I love watering seedlings and picking weeds. That may change as the growing season progresses.

I remember what my Grandfathers flannel shirt used to smell like. It was a mix of cigarette smoke and mountain. I often smell it on the breeze and think he might be checking in.

I don't tell people I love them enough.

Some of my students just got in trouble for something that I cant mention here. It doesn't scare me. It makes me want to care for them more, I feel sad that that's all they have. If they had a choice I don't think they would have chosen to be involved in it.

Gangs are unfortunately, a form of family.

The pictures here are some shots I took at home and in San Francisco.