Wow. So there went the month of May without a post. I think I just needed a little blog break. Or, as Laura called it, “a breaklog.”
Either way…here’s what’s been happening, more or less.
We visited the Dallas Arboretum back in April. It was flippin’ gorgeous! Also, we just happened to pick their single most busy day of the year (according to the ticket-taker). Go us.
The school year came to an end on May 26th and it was bittersweet. I already miss those kids so much. Some of them I had last year as 7th graders and after spending another full year with them, that just ends up being a good chunk of hours invested in them. And a lot of it is beyond Art stuff. Sharing funny stories about pets, arguing about music and studying our butts off together for UIL. My goal is to be more to them than just a teacher, but hopefully a positive influence and maybe even a role model as well. That’s not going to happen unless they know you care and you can’t fake caring. I don’t want to sound sappy or overdramatic about this, but now they’ve moved on and it’s exciting but also sad. It’s new for me because it’s a transition in to a new season and a new role. Every other major point in my life, I’ve been the one that’s grown up to move on. Leaving High School. Getting married. Leaving Paris. Each of those things meant leaving a way of my life as I’d known it behind in order to move on to something new. But now, I’m on the other end and for the first time, something that I care about deeply is leaving me in order to continue to grow. I love that. I love that that’s where we are, but it felt wierd when that sank in on my drive home last Thursday.
To celebrate the beginning of Summer, we spent some time at the lake. It’s so relaxing out there and I like that it’s a lake as opposed to say, an ocean. I’ve always had a fear of big water, so being out on a lake doesn’t bother me as much as being out in the ocean, you know, on account of being able to see the freaking land and all. That’s Laura and her mom enjoying the boat.
On the 22nd, Laura took a group of Adventure Zone teachers to watch the Rangers play the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (the biggest trainwreck of a name in all of professional sports). The Angels are in our division so it was a treat to get to see that particular game. It was a great one and after trailing most of the game, the Rangers pulled out the W in the end. And now that I think about it, we’ve been to two games this year and both times they’ve rallied to win. Sweet. Well, it also happened to be the same night as Game 7 of the Mavs/Spurs series so that’s me trying to get clear reception on a $1.88 walkman.
Alright, now here’s the last thing and it just absolutely blows my mind. The veggie garden in the backyard has been a learning experience at best and a failure at worst. The radishes have produced wonderfully, two of the tomato plants are looking good and will likely produce and the zucchini plants are looking wonderful. Everything else: nuthin’. Noth. In. But, as I said, I’ve learned what I did right and what I did wrong and it’ll be better next time around. For now, I want to talk about the zucchini and the blowing of my mind. I don’t think the picture will do it justice, but this is how it went down. I planted five zucchini seeds per mound (three mounds) and only one came up. But, that one sprout went nuts! It was amazing watching this thing grow! After a couple weeks of seeing that one plant thrive more than anything else in the garden, I decided we’d be wise to sow some more zucchini seeds and see if we could get a few more sprouts to come in. Meanwhile, the existing zucchini is continuing to grow as if it was on the same stuff Barry Bonds is. Four new sprouts came up on one of the other mounds, two on another and on the mound with the existing heavyweight, one new sprout popped up. By this time, the original plant was so established I didn’t really think the new guy had any shot at all, but it went from a sprout to four inches and put out two new leaves. Still, the other one had continued to grow, it’s leaves were over about a foot-and-a-half broad and it just didn’t seem like there’d be any sunlight. Now again, at the risk of being sappy or overdramatic, Life proved itself to be a miracle. A couple days ago Laura went out to look at the garden and discovered that the big plant had completely bent itself to the opposite side of the mound that the new zucchini was growing on. At first, we thought that maybe it was just chasing the evening sunlight and that if we looked at it in the morning it would be back to normal. But it wasn’t. It stayed leaned over to the western face of the mound, leaving the east side and the youngling completely exposed to the sun. It is one of the most beautiful things I’ve witnessed and if you give yourself thirty seconds to think about that happening, it just has to make you smile. In one of Wendell Berry’s essays, “Peaceableness Towards Enemies”, he says this:
I don’t think it is enough appreciated how much an outdoor book the Bible is. It is a “hypaethral book,” such as Thoreau talked about – a book open to the sky. It is best read and understood outdoors, and the farther outdoors the better. Or that has been my experience of it. Passages that within walls seem improbable or incredible, outdoors seem merely natural. This is because outdoors we are confronted everywhere with wonders; we see that the miraculous is not extraordinary but the common mode of existence. It is our daily bread. Whoever really has considered the lilies of the field or the birds of the air and pondered the improbability of their existence in this warm world within the cold and empty stellar distances will hardly balk at the turning of water into wine-which was, after all, a very small miracle. We forget the greater and still continuing miracle by which water (with soil and sunlight) is turned into grapes.
When I reconnected with God after many years of being completely confident there wasn’t such a thing, I’ve got to admit that I still didn’t believe in Jesus’ miracles. That part of the account smelled fishy to me for a number of reasons, but foolishly, the main one was that they were simply impossible. I’m not in that place anymore.
We live, first of all, in a Universe that is too large to actually fathom and it doesn’t matter how you believe it began, at some point in time, for some reason or another, It began. That alone is cause enough to stop and consider everything. And not only is there a Universe in which gigantic galaxies (to us) are miniscule specks (to It), but within those miniscule specks the most amazing things are happening.
Zucchini plants request and are granted space and sunlight. How does it ask? Zebras have vertical black and white stripes because when they scatter as a herd it confuses the color blind lion amongst them. How did they know the lion is color blind? Honeybees dance in a figure-eight using speed and direction to tell the other bees how far and in what direction they can find flowers. How does that even get started?! When I consider the natural world, it occurs to me that it is a far greater miracle than something petty and remedial, like walking on water or turning that water in to wine.