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    27th September 2012

    That queasy feeling in your stomach when…

    …you’re eating a piece of bread, and you put it down, and then when you go to pick it up there is a mealworm crawling away from it…

    I had that feeling while trying to eat breakfast this morning.

    And no, I did not finish the piece of bread.

    26th September 2012

    A few recent photos…

    24th September 2012


    My internal clock thought fall had already come at the beginning of August when our school year started because school is supposed to start with autumn, but of course in LA, August and September are still hot. There has been occasional coolness in the air, but not the crisp, fresh smell of Colorado September so much as the heavy air that comes in from the water. But even in Long Beach, a few hundred yards from the beach, it’s been mostly hot for the past two months. I don’t necessarily notice the heat around my apartment because I leave before 7 a.m. and rarely return before 5 p.m., but the weekends when I’ve been there and woken up early, the light streaming in our east facing glass doors heats the place like a solar oven.

    Now it’s a week til October and I can’t believe where the time has gone. My classes got better for a while and then digressed a little (behavior-wise) and now I’m hoping we’re on the way back up. I think students will start seeing the impact of their never-ending tomfoolery on their grades and will make the effort to pick up some slack and in that process become more focused. I think this because almost all of my students have goals and dreams, even if they have absolutely no idea how to get there. On a goal setting assignment, one student said she wanted to be a pediatrician, but then also said that she didn’t think she would need to be a good reader for this vocation… Try making it through 8 years of post-secondary education without being able to read!

    The main way that I can tell that we are moving from summer to late summer and even fall here in the land of never-winter is the waning of daylight hours. By the time I get home I only have a little time before the sun is going down. I’ve been getting out on my bike. Sometimes riding down the beach path, sometimes over to the LA river trail. I’ve started looking at the sand bars, vegetation, and nesting birds in the “river” and thinking about how it’s nice to get out into nature… which probably means I need to get out of the city sometime soon. But at the same time, there is something right about the mixing between this enormous concrete aqueduct and those things that normally would have made the river their home. It reminds me of “Desolation” from Thomas Cole’s romantic period series of paintings “The Course of Empire”.

    I do, however, think that perhaps Cole missed something important in creating that set of paintings (which I love and you should check out sometime – click the link above!). He shows the inevitability of nature regaining control and the futility of the efforts of the human race in the face of real power. But I think he misses that there are human spirits that are indefatigable. There are people that rise from destruction. People that get back up no matter how badly they are hurt, physically or emotionally. That we people are fighters. We love a comeback story, and many of us do not quit easily. I think the series should have ended with the birth of a new civilization. One person out in the rubble, building himself a hut, taming the wilds, and dreaming of creating a better life for himself and those who come after.

    Trees surrender their leaves, the sun takes longer rest each day, and animals (and some people) go in to hibernate. But eventually the daylight returns, and vegetation with it, and we will awaken our slumbering mammalian relatives with spring in our step.

    But for now, it is fall. And sometimes it is necessary to fall in order to have a most epic comeback. Ok enough deconstruction. Time to get back to my job.

    Copyright 2005 by Daryl Holmlund - All rights reserved.