Tag Archives: photos

‘Something brilliant and beautiful’: A week’s worth of notes

It looks like my town may have a vampire problem. 4 Feb. 2017

It looks like my town may have a vampire problem. 4 Feb. 2017

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“Mister (pause), yeah,” is how I was greeted by a student who’s new to my class this semester and couldn’t recall my name. 30 Jan.

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“I got really mad so then I ate candy to spite her,” said my student, about the nurse telling her not to eat candy because the candy had made her tongue bleed. So, student said, she went home and ate candy. 31 Jan.

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“People who aren’t friends don’t read each others’ poems,” my student  told her friend-but-temporarily-not-friend, after not-friend had asked to see my student’s poem. 1 Feb.

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Ice stacked and muddied after a flood. 4 Feb. 2017

Ice stacked and muddied after a flood. 4 Feb. 2017

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“It’s gonna be a good Friday!” said my student when he came into class Thursday morning. He seemed genuinely surprised when we corrected him. 2 Feb.

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Later that same Groundhog Day, student said the namesake animal had seen his shadow so “we’ve got 6 more months of winter!” She then corrected months to weeks.

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Ice floes and geese in the Rock River at Byron. 4 Feb.

Ice floes and geese in the Rock River (and my dog near the river) at Byron. 4 Feb.

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When student came back from the bathroom, classmate asked, “Did everything come out OK?” 2 Feb.

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After a student accused someone of being “gold-digging” because she was wanting to marry a wealthy person, I sarcasted, “Yeah, why not date losers? ‘Unemployed? Got three fingers? Come on down!'” And then my students discussed which three fingers it’d be best to have. As if such a mutilation were a choice, student asked others, “Which ones are you keeping?” A second student said he’d keep thumb, middle finger, and pinkie, but student three said the extended middle finger “would start a lot of fights, though.” 2 Feb.

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After I said my prizes for my class’s poetry bingo game would be “something brilliant and beautiful,” student quipped, “Is it me?” 2 Feb.

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Reading the Bible symbolically, not literally (because if the Bible is read literally, issues arise, such as are Cain and his wife practicing incest?), could be like how our dreams don’t always make sense. Perhaps fantastic narratives and symbolic stories arose from dreams? 2 Feb.

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Cups in a chain-link fence.

Cups in a chain-link fence.

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Cups in fence, profile.

Cups in fence, profile.

 

Dogs take the world as they find it: The week in pocket pages

Even when national politics seem troubling, I’m gonna keep enjoying writing my journals, driving my morning commute (it’s pretty, and it’s a chance to think), and walking my dog. 14 Nov. 2016

Ginko tree, 4 Nov. 2016

Ginko tree, 4 Nov. 2016

This morning I saw a pile of ginko leaves along a rural roadside. It seems funny that someone would go through all the trouble of moving leaves from his or her yard to this random spot. Why not just cut down the tree?

“I like doing stuff when people are talking,” said a teacher colleague in a meeting where the rest of us were discussing curriculum choices. The stuff she was doing was stickering plastic bags with “Education Week” stickers.

Sun and rainbow spot to its right. 15 Nov.

Sun and rainbow spot to its right. 15 Nov.

Passion is everything, I read today in an article in yesterday’s Chicago Tribune that was left in the in-school suspension room.

I don’t need the world to match my expectations of/for it in order for me to be content. (How fragile an orientation that would be.)

Teaching: In explaining to others, I also get to hear it myself. I’m thinking here of talking philosophy in class recently. We were talking about the idea that what we can name is real, leading me to think that we can define our own realities. If we don’t have a name for something, if we haven’t distinguished it, we probably won’t recognize it as a distinct thing, like how radioactive minerals weren’t recognized before scientists discovered radioactivity, though of course the radioactive minerals were always there. 15 Nov. 2016.

Even to define real is to make it abstract, not present — not real. Real is not here, and here is a word that means consciousness at present.

We can think only ideas. So anything you can think isn’t real. Ideas aren’t necessary. But of course, we can teach through ideas, through talking, and we can also amuse each other through ideas.

Looking at news sites tells me what’s going on elsewhere.

On the calculus teacher's desk. 14 Nov.

On the calculus teacher’s desk. 14 Nov.

I take notes on my reality — my particulars (things I hear, things I see, etc.)

Options as I try to take in less media: get the news from poetry (as William Carlos Williams suggested)? Eh, I may not need news at all.

Gutter leaves. 19 Nov.

Gutter leaves. 19 Nov.

I’m not interested in publishing some one-off essay, the kind of essay that gets edited into “Best American Essays” books. I prefer a more holistic approach. I don’t want applause, I don’t just want to be a performer. My unit of communication is not the formal essay. 16 Nov.

The Story of Now that I constructed from news I heard and read. This isn’t one story but a subdivided set of stories about what’s going on in the world–in the environment, the economy, arts, education, all the many topics. And I may not need to know most or any of this. Maybe I’m feeling disappointed that my Story of Now seems to have so little overlap with some people’s stories of now. Not saying I despair, but I wonder if there’s better use for my time than taking in news. 17 Nov.

I’m not just a role-player writer, a topic-writer. I write from and in my life, my living. I try to keep an open-mind, not holding onto a particular idea as an answer. If I’m alive, I keep thinking, writing — I’m not done! It’s ongoing! And the most-important topic/idea remains (even if it’s in the background), how do I live — how to be alive, how to accept the challenge and opportunity of being conscious!

Leaves outside the gutter on a windy morning. 19 Nov.

Leaves at the curb outside the diner on a windy morning. 19 Nov.

The society/culture may already value performances (of music, acting, etc., but also I’m thinking of poems, novels, and other texts written for others as performances). But I see also an opening for honest non-performances — such as those journals and notes written mainly for oneself. Every experience doesn’t need to be (because it can be) made into a lesson. Not every experience needs to be abstracted into a lesson — sometimes a particular can stay a particular. 18 Nov.

Dogs take the world as they find it. When we go to a local forest preserve prairie, my dog doesn’t ask if it’s true wilderness — he just starts sniffing what’s there to sniff. It’s a reminder to me to attend to what is with me, around me. 19 Nov.

Planter bowl group-portrait. 19 Nov.

Planter bowl group-portrait at the diner. 19 Nov.

September here and there

Sammy swims, 8 Sept.

Sammy swims for sticks, 8 Sept.

Prairie thistle. 26 Sept.

Prairie thistle. 26 Sept.

 

Justice cat, rainy day.

Justice cat, rainy day. 10 Sept.

Milkweed. 26 Sept.

Milkweed. 26 Sept.

Pen reflections.

Pen reflections.

Scraps. 14 Sept.

Scraps. 14 Sept.

Above the school parking lot. 16 Sept.

Above the school parking lot. 16 Sept.

Ronald stares.

Ronald stares.

 

Oak leaves. 14 Sept.

Oak leaves. 14 Sept.

Rail textures. 6 Sept.

Rail textures. 6 Sept.

Grass at prairie. 28 Sept.

Grass at prairie. 28 Sept.

Barn siding. 14 Sept.

Barn siding. 14 Sept.

Milkweed, goldenrod. 28 Sept.

Milkweed, goldenrod. 28 Sept.

April and September:

View of part of the forest preserve prairie, 29 April 2016.

View of part of the forest preserve prairie, 29 April 2016.

View on 26 Sept. 2016 of the same prairie spot.

View on 26 Sept. 2016 of the same prairie spot.

Bands of corn, grass, sky. 29 Sept.

Bands of corn, grass, sky. 29 Sept.

Rain road

Huntley Road at Randall Road, Kane County, Illinois, 4:30-ish p.m., 13 Dec. 2015.

Huntley Road at Randall Road, Kane County, Illinois, 4:30-ish p.m., 13 Dec. 2015.

Recent frozen-water forms

Snow, 21 Nov. 2015

Red on white. 21 Nov. 2015

Frosty dandelion seedhead, 8 Nov.

Frosty dandelion seedhead, 8 Nov.

ice from a bowl, 28 Nov. 2015

Underneath the flat surface of dog bowl’s ice, these shapes. 28 Nov. 2015

Frozen water on window, 21 Nov. 2015

Frozen water on window, 21 Nov. 2015

Frosty leaf, 8 Nov. 2015

Frosty leaf, 8 Nov. 2015

ice from a bowl, 28 Nov. 2015

Foreground: Water-side surface of ice formed in dog bowl. Background: Ice formed around the edge. 28 Nov. 2015

Frosty dandelion leaf, 8 Nov. 2015

Frosty dandelion leaf, 8 Nov. 2015

Snow, 21 Nov. 2015

Subtle shadings of snow. 21 Nov. 2015

ice from a bowl, 28 Nov. 2015

The facing edge is the edge of the approximately half-inch thick top layer of ice from a dog bowl. 28 Nov. 2015

Frosty dandelion bloom, closed. 8 Nov.

Frosty dandelion bloom, closed. 8 Nov.

Snow, 21 Nov. 2015

An icy edge of a small drift, 21 Nov. 2015

ice from a bowl, 28 Nov. 2015

At bottom of pic, the water-side of bowl-topping ice. Top, edge of ice around the edge of the dog’s bowl. 28 Nov. 2015

Snow, 21 Nov. 2015

A drift’s ridge, 21 Nov. 2015

Frosty, curly carrot leaves. 8 Nov.

Frosty, curly carrot leaves. 8 Nov.

Spring still feels fragile

Outside Scarborough Hall, Rockford College University, 11 April 2015

Outside Colman Library, Rockford College University, 11 April 2015

Rockford College University, 11 April 2015

Scarborough Hall, Rockford College University, 11 April 2015

Byron, IL, Rock River, 18 April 2015

Byron, IL, Rock River, 18 April 2015. See a similar view from January here.

Rodent Roads

Snow melts and mouseways appear. 18 March, Ogle County. I’m not really sure which small mammals made these paths, but they look to me like little highways.

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Rodent roads, closer up.

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A Grand Detour in the flow of mice.

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