looking forward to spring break. but not much of a break really when i have papers to check, meetings to go to, projects to finish, etc...but a week away from the classroom is a nice respite even though my thoughts are never far from my students. i think of them a lot, i feel their concerns, i sense their anxieties. just last week a student said her boyfriend tried to commit suicide so she had to be with him and so had to miss a class quiz. another student is taking care of a younger brother who needs a bit of discipline. many students are coughing and wheezing.
the presence of tibetan monks on campus last week was a gift. in their maroon and orange robes they floated around campus on the way to the library where they were making a tara mandala...on their way to the cafeteria for breakfast, or on the way to the dorms. it made me wonder what the impact of their presence was on students. one of my students said she was so frazzled one morning and was rushing to print her essay at the library when she saw the monks walking by and she instinctively slowed down and calmed down. one student said she is thinking of going to meditation classes now.
a professor died last week. he collapsed in front of his class and then was taken to the hospital. the news hit me like a ton of bricks. on our regularly scheduled meetings on Tuesday that this prof attends, there wasn't even an acknowledgement of his death that weekend. how strange. business went on as usual but this time there would be no dissent because the prof wasn't there. he was always the one with the dissenting voice.
the sand mandalas are destroyed after they are created to remind us of the impermanence of everything.