looking on the bright side — and other forms of education

This just looks like Hubble shots of the miraculous universe.  Actually, it’s the water standing in my drainage trenches.  Still.  Or rather, Again.

I could be depressed but — looking on the bright side — instead I’m taking pictures of light on water (two of the best things in that miraculous universe) and thinking that I’ve discovered the most effective fitness plan ever.  When I take it public I think I’ll call it Dig the Rock, Lug the Rock, Spread the Rock, Do it Again.

Upper arm definition?  Definitely.  Another reason for looking on the bright side.

That it’s taking forever to complete this drainage-and-walkway project is not just because it takes forever-beyond-next-Thursday to fill the wheelbarrow by shovel and even longer to heft and trudge it over uneven ground to dump it.  It’s also because we keep finding reasons we need to bike all day on the all-day workday that is Saturday.

But looking on the bright side, a friend I haven’t seen for awhile sent:

I see you, your husband, and son biking on Hwy 30 all the time. How awesome and inspiring!

How often do I get to be awesome?

I’d rather my biking didn’t look so awe-inducing — looked more breezy and carefree — but certainly everything is looking brighter to me once I’ve got endorphins coursing through my body once again.

Or is this inner jubilation just because we biked our 40+ miles (there and back) this weekend to visit YoungSon’s new school and loved LOVED what we saw?

That our broken national education inspires local communities to band together to make new charter schools to fill small rural school buildings instead of closing them is another reason for looking on the bright side. That the new school is even better than what was there before,

. . . while keeping the school open was a priority, it was not the only priority. We had similar ideals in what we considered the best type of schooling for our kids. We appreciate what our Sauvie Island School teachers do to tie our children to our world – like raise trout and release them in a nearby pond – but we want to formalize it and do more. We want to create a curriculum that integrates our natural world into our children‘s education.

that the new board of directors settled on an academically challenging, physically active, place-based, community-focused model,

 . . . quality standards-based core curriculum so that students are engaged in their learning and connected to their community. Environmental education helps students make connections between what they learn and how they live. Projects in the community will provide an opportunity for teachers and students to solve real life problems and meet authentic community needs.

that the old school made new is in one of the most beautiful places on earth,

In May 2000, Michael Frank, New York Times writer, penned the following: “In the landscape, in the very atmosphere of islands, there is often a visceral feeling of apartness. It may have its roots in certain obvious isolating factors of geography and history, but there is a further dimension, less easily pinpointed, a kind of island sensibility, an individuality. A sense that things are done differently on island turf; an attention to old customs and legacies; a respect for nature and a husbanding of natural resources. You feel it in Sardinia and in Sicily and on Patmos. Imagine, though, feeling it on a river island, one connected to a major highway by a bridge not much longer than a freeway overpass.”   Mr. Frank was writing about Sauvie Island, our rural community at the doorstep of Portland.  [all quotes from Sauvie Island Academy website]

That they opened their school to neighboring districts, that the mother of one of YoungSon’s friends called to let me know, that there was still a spot for Young — all these are reasons for looking on the bright side.

So even though it is almost the last week of August.  And we never went on a wildflower hike.  And we never got to take a weekend away on our bikes.  And we never did make it to the free movies in the park in Portland.  And Eldest is leaving once again (and again forever).  And the basement is only half painted. And the drainage trenches still don’t drain.

Even though summer is nearly — to all intents and purposes — over.

Still, looking on the bright side, we have a school supply list in our hands where nothing is misspelled.  And we can look forward to the small thrills of not only the proper kind of pencils (Dixon-Ticonderoga), recycled copier paper and thumb drives (which are still miraculous-seeming to me), but rain boots, clipboards and a change of warm clothing and socks.

And Young is overheard, for once enthusiastic about the start of school, “And we even get to go canoeing up and down the river!”


6 thoughts on “looking on the bright side — and other forms of education

  1. I love these photos especially the first and the last. Note to self: get out and photograph thistle down.

    We are trying something new for one of my girls this school year. I hope it works out well. Congrats on getting him into such a great school.

  2. Your posts almost always make me cry (wipes eyes with hanky). Education, environment, family… Gearing up for my 20th year of home schooling. Out of five children only two left to help educate.

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