Sunday, October 14, 2018

Ghost crab in October

A different fish, a different day, the same look.
October creeps forward.

The shadows, lengthening in their ominous beauty, remind those paying attention that we are of the dust, and the dust will take us back.

For a few hours each year, the world of those already taken (human and otherwise) opens to the world we know. Samhain approaches, again.

I took a walk on the edge of the bay--a stiff breeze was blowing in from the northwest, the waves a controlled fury, stark grays and whites on the water, flashes of pink on the underbelly of clouds. No one else was on the beach.

A dead bunker, flesh still clinging to its partially visible skeleton, mouth agape, washed up at my feet. Through death it looked stunned. A few minutes later a lone gull struggled to get it down its gullet.

The Jersey shore shares this same theme every fall, for anyone who cares to brave the beach breeze. But the stories change.

And today's story was about a ghost crab on the edge of both worlds.

Embed from Getty Images
Ghost crabs live in burrows on the beach. Though experts tell you that they are nocturnal, ghost crabs apparently do not read (or trust) their words, and can be seen scurrying about the beach pretty much any time of day in the warmer months.

What you won't see, however, is a ghost crab crossing a street.

When I got back to my bicycle, I found it there directly below the pedals, its eye stalks retracted, perhaps dead, perhaps not, wavering between this world and the other.


I picked it up--it barely moved--and walked back across the street, down the path to the bay, set it down by the bay's edge, and a wash of foam reached up and took it.

Maybe not a story meant for anyone else.
But it was meant for me.



The other world is meant for all of us.




Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Stealing the souls of children

"People pay for what they do,and still more for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it very simply; by the lives they lead."
James Baldwin 

My hand holding a creature from the bay
In the end, it's the ground that will save us, if we are, or even want, to be saved.

We're of the mud, of the air, of the water, of the sun. We diminish the folks before us on this once fine land when we "honor" these as metaphors.

We diminish our ancestors from our homelands who spoke of the spirits and the blurring of the lines between the living and the dead as autumn darkness presses on our souls.

Cliffs of Moher, County Clare (Aaron Logan via Wikimedia)
These are not simply metaphors or myths or models. They are ways to understand the world.

You cannot grasp a fistful of earth through a screen.
Augmented reality is neither.
We are stripping the souls from our children.

We become who we deserve to become.
But we should let our children decide whether a soul is worth keeping.




Winter is coming, again.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Getting certified, FRS-NJ version

Awarding schools certifications for using e-tech is like Gillette awarding young adults for reaching puberty. Everybody feels good about themselves for something that was inevitable anyway, and another corporation plays the product placement game.


I am, by nature, skeptical of clubs that require certifications (including the process of credentialing teachers). Credentialing costs time and money, and, like anything involving power and people, tend to exacerbate existing cultural schisms. (Pretty fancy talk for, among other things, racism.)

I do get, however, why credentialing of some sort can be useful at times, and have participated when necessary. I have been board certified as a pediatrician, and am currently certified as a public school teacher in the state of New Jersey. I have also been certified as a SCUBA diver, youth sports coach, in CPR, and have a license to drive both a car and a motorcycle.

I know who is doing the certifying, and more important, why.

Future Ready Schools New Jersey Logo

Future Ready Schools NJ (FRSNJ) is a branch of Future Ready Schools, a national organization funded by folks who want to sell things to schools. FRSNJ even have a "vendor-agnostic" Corporate Thought Partners Collaborative. Because, well, I never fully grasped the because....

I have been learning what I can from their online sources. I wanted to learn more, but email exchange with their program coordinator started with pablum and descended from there. It didn't end well. I was called "dishonest" publicly.

Before your district dives into a certification process that gets you a nice banner and a star on a map, consider the time and resources you are using to.earn the accolades. Consider who benefits. Consider the online behavior of its members while representing the organization.

There is no charge, but among the mortal time ain't free.



Bronze, Silver, Gold levels--chasing one's tail over and again....