© Hector Lee, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
I can only imagine the terror of those who were thrown down alive into an abyss of darkness and desperation. There is no need for hell; we’ll create it ourselves.
The boys’ bathroom between the Science and Home Ec Buildings were filled with a strong acrid smoke. I later learned it was the skunky smell of marijuana. Drugs were never something I was even curious about. The kids who smoked pot were slackers, dopers and those who were disengaged from school. Later I learned that there were studious and upstanding kids who also toked.
The drug wars in Mexico seem to be escalating and the limits of violence the drug gangs will commit seem to have no limits. This is incomprehensible for me as a Mexican-American, who has family and affection for Mexico. I know Mexicans as good, generous and benevolent. They are not without their flaws but by and large they are a people of decency and integrity. Unfortunately, Mexico has failed to provide economic opportunities for its people, and the drug trade is a growing industry. And the US demand for drugs has fueled this commerce. We in the US, the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world, look to drugs for happiness. We have failed to nurture authentic alternatives to finding joy in life.
My censure and aversion to marijuana has grown into one of benign indifference, especially as I live in one of the most cannabis-tolerant cities in the US. While I don’t care for it, I am not offended if one smokes it (as long as it doesn’t invade my breathing space or endanger anyone else).
One serious idea to arrest the trade of illicit drugs is to legalize them and handle them as controlled substances, like alcohol and tobacco. And for those who have addiction problems, they would be eligible for treatment. But making them legal would take away the monopoly the drug mafias have and thus diminish their influence and power.
In November there will be a ballot proposition legalizing the use of marijuana. While I don’t begrudge individuals using it responsibly, I am not sure how I will vote. Recently my street has attracted many young college kids; and at any time of the day I can smell the wafting odor of pot, which I find annoying. But perhaps voting for the legalization of marijuana is a step in the right direction of legalizing all illicit drugs so the violence perpetuated by drug gangs in Mexico will diminish.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Tonight I went to see the deYoung’s current exhibit of the “Birth of Impressionism: Materpieces from the Musée d’Orsay.” What a charming show! Through the work of Manet, Degas, Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Cezanne, Bouguereau and Whistler, it shows how 19th century art in Paris was transformed from the classical, idealized human form of allegorical, historical or religious themes of the State-sanctioned salon to the contemporary, realistic subjects in seemingly unfinished work of the avant-garde artists of the time. I really enjoyed Manet’s brushy, unfinished, flat work and the wonderful compositions of Degas (he cuts the persons in half or shows the hindquarters of the horse prominently).
I am always inspired when I attend a good show; it inspires me to tap into my own creativity to do my own art. And it makes me a bit sad for the work I do not do.
James Abbott McNeill Whistler Arrangement in Gray and Black, No. 1: Portrait of the Painter’s Mother. ©Musee d’Orsay
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
© Hector Lee, 2010
In times of crisis, let beauty heal and comfort you.
- stand under a yellow umbrella of gingko leaves in the fall.
- take in the rose sky and purple foothills at sunset.
- discern the delicate mist over Lake Merced in the morning.
- A sliver of a moon in a cold starry sky where you can see your breath
- Brushing your fingers against lavender or rosemary and holding the fragrance in your hand.
- The view of St. Cecilia against the sea while driving west on West Portal on a gloriously sunny day.
- Dark ancient oaks in a field of chartruese grass in the early spring which turns golden brown a few months later.
- To behold the sea and sky together.
- Moving clouds
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
© Hector Lee, 2010
Perhaps the challenges we face are preparations for strengthening courage, fortifying resolve and acquiring inner power in ways that are not discernable my present periphery. My inability to sleep soundly this year is shared with others in positions of more responsibility. It is the cost of growing up, of this generation’s responsibility to take the reins of service and leadership. We cannot expect the older generation to continue to be in charge; eventually they will expect younger hands and fresher minds to take up the cause. “Be a principal,” I am told.
Perhaps the limitations we face are actually blessings of encountering truth in our lives, of recognizing what we do not know or do not know how to do. It allows us to seek others for help and to be learners. It is the blessing of humility.
Perhaps the discipline issues with our African-American students at Flynn happen to be a result of their being the neediest students, and we, the adults, have failed to attend to those needs. We may be depleted and ill-equipped, but we can address if it we want to, if we are courageous enough, if we are given the space and time to reflect. Or perhaps they happen to be the most resilient, savvy and intelligent, but we have failed to recognize it and interpret behavior as deficient. Again and again, despite the other obligations of education, we must never forget the first principle: building the relationships with the students and families we serve. So it pains me to leave the issue as yet unresolved. Going to another site, I will have to come back to it another day.
So as I leave for another school I leave a network of relationships I have built up over seventeen years. And I grieve for that loss. But I must trust that the inner voice calling for change will lead a place of generative service and satisfaction.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
I have learned two lessons in my life: first, there are no sufficient literary, psychological, or historical answers to human tragedy, only moral ones. Second, just as despair can come to one another only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
You know quite well, deep within you, that there is only a single magic, a single power, a single salvation...and that is called loving. Well, then, love your suffering. Do not resist it, do not flee from it. It is your aversion that hurts, nothing else.
Today, our school officially found out that Sylvia, our principal, will not be returning to Flynn. Our district told our parents and families before the staff. They have yet no principal to replace her. The district, at least, recognizes that we need an experienced principal. Flynn will be getting a Turnaround Principal. There is hope for Flynn, but will I be part of it?