Day 101 Rocks…Paper…

March 20, 2015

(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th year where I write and illustrate a blog on each day's gift.)

When I taught 9th grade English in Baltimore City, I met a Japanese teacher who was part of a group of foreign educators brought into the schools to teach core subjects and share their culture while doing so. The Japanese man was teaching English at then Southern High School near Baltimore’s harbor. One of his projects was to work with neighborhood kids to transform a back alley devastation area into a Japanese rock garden after school. During the school day when he wasn’t in the classroom, he challenged students to pick up hallway trash and to create something with it, perhaps in the form of origami cranes.

The Japanese garden has since deteriorated into its former identity and the origami figures have long ago disappeared into landfills. Some might think this is sad but, often in art, it is the process that is more important than the final product. Mr. Aoki surely helped a few students to see possibilities in things that they previously thought were ugly.

Today the weekly ANC (Aging Newspapermen’s Club that also includes women and non-journalists) met at Roman’s for lunch. My husband David is the journalist and I tag along. I received my usual paper-covered straw for my Coke and unconsciously found myself twisting the discarded straw wrapper during conversation. I presented David with a tiny bow and he tossed his wrapper my way. Before I knew it, I had used two straw wrappers to create a stick figure, lending itself to two interpretations. David saw, “Hands up, don’t shoot” while I saw a soccer player. It doesn’t matter than my “art” will be temporary or that someone else sees it in a different way than I do. If a poetry reader misses the poet’s point or someone viewing a painting understands it in a different way than the artist intended, it isn’t important. What matters is that we connect, see possibilities and begin conversations. 

My gift today is a piece of trash.
> DAY 102

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