Day 310: Take Five – Fireflies

The heat and humidity came, but it still wasn’t really summer (not yet)…Another school year ended, but it still wasn’t really summer (not yet)…The lilies bloomed along the highway, but it still wasn’t really summer (not yet)…The pool opened in the park downtown, but it still wasn’t really summer (not yet)…Then the fireflies came (and danced like stars in the night), and it was really summer (at last).

I always look forward to the first fireflies of the summer, and the simple, impermanent beauty of their rhythmic green glow.

If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that you can see the fireflies, take a few minutes this weekend, step outside, let go of everything else inside your head, and let yourself get lost in the magic of their gentle glow.

Day 309: A Midwest Mural

One of my friends teaches art at a small university in rural Iowa. Recently, she and a group of her students completed an outdoor mural as a public art project.

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In some ways, it’s a study in community – not only because it was created through the cooperative efforts of a group of talented students (and their professor) but also because it celebrates the history of the community in which it was created. It also acts as a very visible – and very literal – connection between “town” and “gown.”

In some ways, it’s a study in contrast – the vintage, photo-realistic, and primarily monochromatic service station and automobile contrasted with the modern, abstract, and unabashedly colorful background. You might not even expect those things to work together. The results, though, speak for themselves, with each quality complementing and highlighting the other – and the piece wouldn’t be nearly as striking without those contrasts.

In some ways, it’s a study in (perhaps entirely unintentional) metaphor – a reminder that our differences don’t have to divide us. Despite our differences (or maybe even because of them), each of us has the power to contribute something essential, unique, and beautiful to our own community.

Day 308: “No One…”

One of my friends, who’s currently traveling in Spain, posted a picture of this book (which he ran across in the English-language section of a used book store in San Sebastian) to his travel blog yesterday.

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No, this isn’t the picture he posted; this is just a standard publicity image. (I’m using this version because I want to emphasize the words on the cover, especially since most of us don’t typically pay that much attention to the title of a book.)

I bought my own copy several years ago. Despite pulling it off the shelf several times since then, I’ve never been able to finish it. Even so, I still love the title – and its simple message of affirmation to us all.

Take a Look: Summer Fun for Everyone

From HuffPost via Yahoo! News: “A new water park in San Antonio is making sure kids with disabilities don’t miss out on the splashing fun this summer. Morgan’s Inspiration Island is an extension of Morgan’s Wonderland, a theme park built to be inclusive for all its guests, including kids with disabilities. Like Wonderland, all parts of the Inspiration Island water park are wheelchair-accessible. Guests with special needs are also admitted at no cost. … In a press release, Gordon said the team behind Inspiration Island consulted with water park professionals, doctors and experts in special education and special needs, as well as received input from local teachers, parents and caregivers. … With help from the attractions and special features, the team at Morgan’s Inspiration Island hopes to ensure all of its guests will have fun without worry. ‘Morgan’s Inspiration Island promises to give individuals with physical or cognitive special needs a place where they can splash and play without barriers,’ Gordon said.”

Read more at the Yahoo! News website.