“You live most of your life inside your head. Make sure it’s a nice place to be.” ~ Unknown
Every September 11 the University of Kentucky outlines with American flags an enormous 9/11 symbol on the front lawn. The Kentucky state and American flags fly at half staff. Military members take turn marching in a precise square around the flag pole while other members of the student body read the 3000+ victim names. This is the routine every September 11. Meanwhile, on social media, it’s meme after meme of ‘never forget,’ as if anyone alive that day ever could. There was a guy on facebook recently ranting about a politician’s lack of service that day, or rather, what he thought she should have been doing instead of what she was doing. Ironically, what she was actually doing was sitting in a Marine fighter jet on a tarmac awaiting orders to shoot down more civilian planes should they be hijacked. I don’t know how much more she could have done, frankly. That was a helluva lot more than most of America. Still, everyone I knew that day wanted to help in some way. Some joined the military. Some went back into active service. Some were in NYC or DC to help with cleanup. Some just baked cakes for their neighbors because that’s all they could do, but everybody tried to find some way to help. Shoot, I was ready to enlist myself until Angie Bliss Fanning reminded me that I was too old and cranky. FYI, the cut-off is 35 for Army enlistment, which, naturally, would be my branch of choice. When you’re under attack you want to do something to ease the pain and suffering, stop being scared, exact revenge, insert your feelings here. That’s natural. But sometimes, particularly after this attack, continuing to be live life to its fullest is the best course of action. There’s still plenty for everyone to do to keep us safe, keep us going. I’d recommend voting in every election as a start.
I think campus is always a neat place to be in fall. This year feels different somehow, reserved, quiet. I leave work around 6p, and there are tons of students still around. That in itself is unusual, but something I also notice is how smile-less most of them are. They don’t look sour, or angry. If I had to put a label on it I’d say they look worried. UK’s President Capilouto issued, yet again, a letter in response to the current federal administration’s action, in this case the repeal of DACA, or the Dreamer’s Act. I’ve lost count the number of times since February that our university has had to send out a letter to faculty, staff, and students because of some federal atrocity. We have to publicly tell our colleagues who aren’t white that they are welcome. We have to publicly tell students who are foreign and not white that they are welcome. I’m glad UK’s President offers such assurances, but I’d be happier if we lived in a world where the content of a person’s character mattered more than the color of their skin (to paraphrase Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) or where they’re from. Every time I get sad about this reality I look around and see all kinds of love and goodness among UK’s diverse population and I feel a fire of hope, even among the folks that no longer smile.
Because I was mom’s guardian at yesterday’s Honor Flight and posted photos to Facebook throughout the day, I thought I’d put them all here together to walk us through the day in one view. What an incredible experience!
Some walks at the end of the day are a bit like walking through a postcard. It’s not a postcard from the beach, mountains, tropical paradise, or African safari, but it’s what I’ve got. I can sure think of worse. I’m awfully grateful for the view, the steadiness, the perks, and especially my sweet co-workers.
Last week these wonderful additions began to appear in various locations around campus. I hope it works because it’s actually a very kind thing to do. I seem to recall the city did something similar with bikes a few years ago, but I don’t think that worked out too well. In any case, Loanbrellas – that’s the kind of positive act I like. Good going, UK.
Late last year UK’s president chose to cover a well-known mural in Memorial Hall painted by UK Alumna Ann Rice O’Hanlon. This he did in response to discomfort voiced by a variety of campus groups. The reason they’re displeased with the image created in 1934 as part of the WPA is because it depicts Kentucky’s history. In that history are black slaves and native american indians, and in the painting those slaves and indians are represented. How they’re represented is unlikely the way an artist would portray them today, but like it or not, slaves and indians were instrumental to the making of Kentucky. Would it be a greater or lesser sin to leave them out entirely? A little more than a week after the president announced the covering of the painting (presumably until the University could decide how best to deal with it since it’s a WPA work of value), another announcement was released declaring the decision would be reversed. BFF Reinette Jones is working on a publication about the mural. Yesterday, she and I made our way to Memorial Hall to photograph it. We arrived to find the fresco still under wraps nearly two months after announcing it would be uncovered. Still, the ironically white sheet draped wall made for a provocative image. Whether one agrees with O’Hanlon’s visual interpretations or not, she did her job well because 80+ years later the fresco is still spurring intellectual exchange. That’s what good art is supposed to do.
It was a stunningly gorgeous day in Kentucky. Surely heaven looks like Kentucky in October, at least a little slice of it anyway. It’s hard to imagine being anywhere else this time of year. It warms my heart every year.
“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of.
You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” ~ Albert Camus
I walked to the car, turned around for just a moment, and saw this incredible sky. When I take the new job I’ll be leaving the main library pictured here for a smaller branch library (which is actually the old library). I’ll also be leaving this view every day from the parking garage. I will miss the sky so much. At home, my neighborhood is older and chock full of mature trees. While I loves trees, we have so many that they block the sky, which makes days like this from atop the garage all the more sweet. Those contrails making an X in the sky: eerily symbolic this particular day for my career at the University of Kentucky as I had several very important and meaningful conversations that could have changed my outlook. Life is good. I am growing. I am blessed beyond measure.
“Sometimes you have to be your own hero.” ~ Unknown
I haven’t done an autostitch pic in a long time, and today’s sky was so beautiful that it had to be done twice. What’s pitiful is that the stitch didn’t quite meet at the pole, thus making the flag illegible. It is the 2012 men’s NCAA basketball champions, the University of Kentucky Wildcats. It was our eighth trophy. Tonight, the championship game has the University of Louisville Cardinals against Michigan. Tomorrow, the women’s championship game will be played between Louisville and Connecticut. Very few schools can make such a successful claim as this. A lot of the Big Blue Nation don’t like Louisville and they especially don’t like Rick Pitino because he left UK only to coach a rival in the end. I am, as usual, an exception. I like Louisville any time they’re not playing UK. They represent Kentucky, too, as all our state schools do. I also think Rick Pitino is the best basketball coach alive. I always have, even when he dumped us. I might be on to something since he was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame today. Go Cards – men and women! You’ve made the Commonwealth proud.