|Sunflower field growing on Park Street in Manchester, PA -- September 11, 2015|
I would like to say that I always want to ride my bike. To be honest there are many times that my brain screams "Ride!" but my body tells me "No." Today was different. After school ended today my body wanted to go for a ride but my brain kept shutting the idea out. I get like this when I feel drained...mentally. The ironic thing is that going for a ride is always the remedy...it just takes some serious mental convincing to get my butt in gear.
My least favorite day of the school year is September 11. As an American History teacher I feel it is my responsibility to teach my students about the events of September 11, 2001. I've found, that the further we move in time from that date, the harder it is to teach my students about it. In the years right after it happened I was able to have discussions with my students focusing on our feelings about what happened. That's now impossible. Even students who are high school seniors this year were only 3 years old on that fateful day. The 8th graders I have now were not even alive (and if they were they were in diapers.) That means that they are emotionally removed from the events of September 11, 2001 just I am emotionally removed from the events of Kennedy assassination or the Vietnam War. This makes it difficult for me because I still have a physical and emotional reaction to how I felt that day. I've found that I needed to change the way I teach this to my students. I now explain to them why their teachers and parents and other adults are so passionate about September 11 and go on to tell them what I remember and how I felt...in vivid detail. They were riveted to me. For some of my students it was the first time they were able to understand how people felt that day...and I think....that they have a much greater appreciation of the gravity of the day.
I had to do this six times today. That might explain why my brain told my body "no" when it was time to get in my after school ride. Thankfully my body won this fight and off I went. My goal today was to find as much beauty that I could near the community in which I live.
|Ducks swimming in the Conewago Creek along Conewago Road north of Manchester, PA -- September 11, 2015|
|Sunflowers growing near Park Street in Manchester, PA -- September 11, 2015|
Winding in and out of the side roads around Manchester, PA I found myself down by the Conewago Creek on Conewago Creek Road. Riding along the creek I notice the sun glistening off the water and what looked like dozens of ducks floating around the old bridge trestle. Turning up Park Street I saw the most amazing field of sunflowers growing off to the right. I stopped to take a picture and talked to the gentleman who lived in the house near the field. He told me that in the 20 years he lived there it was a wheat field. He was at a loss to explain the unexpected beauty.
|Farm fields west of Manchester, PA -- September 11, 2015|
From Park Street I had planned to head straight home, but, for some reason turned down Gross Avenue which is a little more than a glorified alley. What an amazing decision. The farm fields looking west were a spectacular sight. This road took me directly to Northeastern School District's administration building. I paused here for a moment to take in the sight of the flag which was flying at half staff to remember the solemnity of the day.
I'm glad I went out today and didn't let my brain win out. In just an hour was able to clear my head and was able appreciated the gifts of life, health, and nature that surround me and those that I love.
Life is a journey...not a destination.
David A. Raymond -- September 11, 2015