Thursday, August 27, 2009

a walk in the woods (ish)

I'm up in North Dakota for the week spending time with Andy before I leave (sidenote: BAHHG! It's just a couple weeks away! AGHH!). He started classes on Tuesday, and I took advantage of the gorgeous weather/free time to hike Turtle River State Park.

The trails go through the prairie, marsh, and forest, and they are really very beautiful. My camera died before I came to a grove of young birch trees - kinda disappointing, since it was probably the most gorgeous/surreal part of the whole excursion.

Did manage to snap one of the bajillion toads hopping around, though. Seriously, they were EVERYWHERE. At one point, I basically had to hike in slow-mo and on tiptoe to avoid crushing any.
Now, I may be blurry in the above shot, but it's the background that's important. What do you notice? That's right - hills! What? You didn't see 'em? Welcome to Grand Forks, where even the slightest sign of rolling terrain becomes a big deal.

Besides twisiting my ankle when I slipped on a rock while coming down one of the aforementioned hills, I'd say it was a successful adventure. Satisfying, too - everything's better outside, especially on beautiful blue-sky days.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

where i get sorta sentimental

This summer I've been nannying for my three cousins a few days a week, trying to stash away some funds for Berlin. Whenever I'm with them, I can't seem to help taking a whole bunch of pictures - they're just so dang sweet! A few weeks ago, the older two girls decided to have a picnic with their dolls in the backyard. Meanwhile, I pushed the youngest in her swing, stopping to take photos here and there. Several of the resulting images had a sort of timeless, nostalgic quality to them, which I decided to emphasize:

They seem like something you might find in an old shoebox when cleaning out the closet, especially the last two. I know I've talked before about how I am certainly NOT a photographer, but it's hard not to love any picture of these beautiful girls!

Monday, August 17, 2009

brain food

Recently I spent several days in Minneapolis. For whatever reason, my time there is always heavenly - lots of sleeping in, good food, and hours spent drinking coffee/reading/ wandering/etc. It all amounts to me eventually drifting into this peaceful, contemplative state, where I don't want to do anything but observe, experience, and make stuff. (So, in essence, I guess it's really me getting back to my true nature.) Fitting, then, that on this particular trip I began reading The Creative Brain by Nancy Andreasan (see the sidebar for a link).

In short: I love this book. I find it entirely fascinating. It took just a few pages for me to begin scrawling out choice quotes on whatever scrap paper I had available. Here's one, from the preface:

"[H]ow many geniuses had been born - had been given the creative nature - but were unable to realize their gifts for lack of nurture[?] Half of the human beings in history are women, for example, but we have had so few women recognized for their genius. How many were held back by societal influences[?]...I cannot believe that women are innately less creative than men. But the problem goes beyond gender. It includes racism, prejudice, poverty, wars, lack of education, and a host of other forces that prevent the seeds of human creativity from sprouting. We cannot afford to waste human gifts" (xii-xiii).

The emphasis on that last sentence is mine. The whole passage really struck me as I first sat reading it (while sipping coffee in Dinkytown - what else?). What occurs to me now, however, is that it could sum up one of the main reasons I'm going into education. This is why I want to teach, and why I am so committed to helping children that may otherwise be ignored and underserved. That might mean impoverished children in high-need schools or the exceptionally gifted child bored in the back of the room. Having money doesn't excuse someone from being misunderstood, something I'm learning more and more.

So, here I come, teaching profession. We'll see how it goes.