The Eve of Chinese New Year we all met at the city's largest Chinese temple to burn paper money (which, in return, gets sent back to us by the gods, if we have good luck), follow the dragon dancers, and search for some good Chinese food.
Jelaluddin Rumi (1207-1273), a Persian mystic who excelled at the rubai (the four-lined poem) wrote the following lines. I found this poem on p. 60 of one of the books I'm reading: a Coleman Barks translation of Rumi's poems: Birdsong.
"Because Dancing Shoes considers us VIP indeed, he grabbed my arm, marched me through the cameras on tripods, magazine photographers, and representatives from Revlon, and sat us down in the seats as if we were The Queens of Y. One minute later, the first model was coming onto the stage. I looked over at him, and felt like Carrie Bradshaw sitting with Samantha Jones.
Only this ain’t no Manhattan, and this ain’t no “Sex and the City.”
Last week was tough. A recent cheating incident exposed that fact that some students at our school are cheating by digitally photographing final exams using cells phones and even breaking into classrooms afterhours. Needless to say, many teachers (incuding me!) were quite disillusioned, and the morale at school the lowest I've seen in years.
Then, something shifted. As a journal assignment, in tandum with the setting of New Year's intentions, I asked students to make a list of 43 things they want to do before they die. And what did I find?
I found hope. Because, with a list like this, you have to think: If these kids are in charge of the world, it might not end up being such a bad place, afterall.
Note: This image found on "Google Images", and I can't recover the source. This isn't a photo of my students! (see comments)
It's all Dragon Queen's fault. Remember her? She's the one who shows up at your door with a handful of kittens and says, "They need a home?" and before you know it, they're at home with you? She's just that way, Dragon Queen. The stray animals love her; street cats see her coming, and follow her home. Well, this time, it wasn't any different.
I've been following Anne Taintor's work for years, and adore everything she creates. Best of all: she's from New Mexico! (Alas, my garden doesn't kick ass at the moment. The grass has turned to mud. The workers are drilling a new well: two attempts thus far to strike water. Third time's a charm.)
“The only dream worth having... is to love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.” -Arundhati Roy via and via