When You’re at a Crossroads: Take It from Me, It’s Okay to Feel Lost (Notes from the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest)
In this post, I regale you with pictures and musing from an All Hallows' Eve visit to Greenwood Cemetery and Sunset Park, Brooklyn. It was a beautiful Autumn Day and we are all cognizant of the need to physical-distance ourselves — so what better way to do that than to be outdoors in a massive cemetery?
Exploring Greenwood Cemetery on All Hallows’ Eve, I scored a handful of great photographs. Located in South Brooklyn, the cemetery is one of the oldest graveyards in the city and is a site of a Revolutionary War battle. @historicgreenwood is also a National Historic Landmark. My friends John and Jennifer joined me; we also went to Sunset Park, my old neighborhood. Scarfed down a torta stuffed with spicy pork at @tacoselbronco, scored a free beer from a passerby, and watched the D train come out of the tunnel on Fourth Avenue — it was a serendipitous day.
A Judgment of Beauty At West Fourth Street Station (And a Rant about Education in These United States)
Maybe there was derisive laughter from this student because beauty and the subterranean chaos of the New York City subway system did not equate in her mind with a notion of beauty, or, it seems to me, the notion of beauty, a capacity to appreciate it - albeit in the slum of the West Fourth Street Station. I felt sad and isolated in front of the class. Not because they missed my point, but I felt isolated in that way a kid feels when they have said something wrong in front of a group of adults. As if I had said the wrong thing to a group of fellow human beings - and I do not think I am over-thinking this moment. I think educators, people like me who spend lots of time in classrooms, have witnessed two critical deformations in intellectual seriousness. First, we are educated to be producers, not thinkers. What this means is that a sharing response to what is beautiful is not what we do in classrooms. Notionally, we should be doing other more important endeavors (what this other stuff is exactly I have not fully ascertained but I get the impression it is dull and prosaic). Second, in the name of entertainment, the public sphere has been dumbed down to such a point that beauty is losing its shareability. I actually had the president of the school where I work tell me and a large group of faculty members that first and foremost the students should be entertained in the classroom. Tell a joke, he said. One time during a midterm exam a student got up from her seat and gave me her test. I asked her why she had not finished it and she told me, "if you had made this class more fun I would know this stuff." I never saw her again. She dropped the class.