Sunday, July 12, 2020

Human Evolution

Made it driving 12 hours non-stop from San Francisco to Portland, Oregon in company with Ijeoma Oluo talking to me (via Audible) about race with insight, depth, heart and humor. Then came the long-awaited 3-month-missed hugs from the grandchildren and off we went into the next phase of summer. Watching them on their bikes, scooters, skateboards, playing card games, board games, reading books, singing songs, deflecting the ritual stealing of my glasses from my front pocket and so on. 
Malik had recently turned five and besides his elongated body, I could feel a sea change in his level of maturity, his interesting comments, his increased control over the physical body and mental processes. Also appreciated my son-in-law now 9 months into his career as an Occupational Therapist after struggling for some fifteen years to finally land at how he would contribute to the world. The shift from studying to passing tests, to surmounting obstacle after obstacle (made yet more challenging from all the things thrown in the path of a black man in America) to finally landing in a job in which he excells with a boss who loves him and who he appreciates deeply. So lovely to see him free from doubt and stress and coming into his own. 
And then, of course, the 8-year old Zadie writing thoughtful essays about Black Lives Matters, rapping a complex piece that she and her Dad wrote together and challenging me to chess!! My own daughter’s triumphs were less dramatic, as she has always steadily climbed up the ladder of her talent, but still one could feel the palpable depth of her life’s efforts as she rounds the corner to 40 years old (!!!). 
As a teacher, I’ve been a lifetime student of human evolution, sitting down in the circle with 3-year-old-kids in their first music class with me and looking into their eyes imagining the 14-year-old I might speak about as graduation. Having witnessed and been part of the 11-years of constant transformation of the many children I have taught, I’ve always maintained a firm faith in the possibilities of our constant evolution. 
And feeling it in my own soul’s walk toward itself, that vague outline imagined at the beginning of the journey coming into sharper focus and filling out into the details. It was by my side during the torrent of last week’s difficult meetings with a professional world in crisis and never failed to steer me towards a certain sense of integrity and rightness.
And that’s as much time as I have, because the grandkids are calling me to the Sorry Board. See ya!

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