January 20, 2005

Just outside the hydrogen peroxide closet you could open a window to look down on the play yard at my first school. I always found this vantage point to be unnerving, and yet I often found myself standing there admiring the way the harsh California sunshine would carve crisp shadows out of the cement. 

* * * * *

As a teacher, I confess that I periodically miss that predictable sunshine. It made teaching about light and time so much easier. In Oregon it is much trickier to use the colors of sunrise and sunset as a teaching aide, because so often the entire sky is nothing by an endless sea of gray cloud and drizzle. Likewise, building a sundial in the Willamette Valley can be an almost comical exercise in futility nine months out of the year— the very same nine months that school is traditionally in session. On the flip side however, my current students never have to stay inside for recess because of astronomical pollutant levels and it's unlikely that they'll ever sit on the highway watching ash settle on the windshield with the silence of snow.*

*Although, if I recall correctly, 1980 did provide a very dramatic dispersion of ash in Oregon.

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