Sunday, October 16, 2016

Buddhas of Bamiyan, Bryan of Brown School (Maude Throwing Harold's Ring Away). It's the Thought That Counts

Sometime during 2001 I remember Alice coming to my room to say the Taliban in Afghanistan is blowing up Buddhist temples and taking down the iconic religious symbols. "This isn't good," she said. "Cultures are being wiped out."

Soon after, 9/11 happened.

Fast forward several years after I left the Brown School when I learned this or that teacher painted over the artwork that students left behind as their legacies - senior projects, colorful pieces to add flavor to the school and to create an aesthetic for all of us to learn in. Many of these teachers posted the white paint they used to cover up the art and I felt a punch in my stomach. One by one, I learned the memories of what made the school awesome were being erased. I defended the choices. Change is inevitable.

I was contacted by the school on Thursday of this week, however, to ask if I had copy of the tea room poem I wrote for Jessica Stauble's senior project, where she redid the space for student art, district meetings, poetry readings, class gatherings, and graduation celebrations. Student work hung on all the walls and the poem I wrote was painted across the top edge of the room, framing it all in Brown School colors.
We painted over your poetry and are working to turn the room into a space that can be used by teachers. We wondered if you have a copy of the poem that we can hang up on one of the walls now that the work is gone.

I left, so I have no hard feelings. It did remind me, however, of the Taliban's deliberate intent to take away Buddhist culture in Afghanistan. They aren't sure how the room will be used, but it might be a place for the band to practice or to store instruments.

Nothing stays the same. That is beautiful. Yet, I'm left nostalgic for the spirit that was left to me at 546 S. First Street under the vision and leadership of Ron Freeman. It's okay that my marks are being covered because, well, I opted to leave. Still, I am thinking of the beautiful students who were the heartbeat of the building while I was there and I'm wondering what this might mean to them. Perhaps it is a good life lesson, like it was for me when in my first year of college I returned to a Friday night homecoming football game and all the seats in the senior section were taken over by another class. We were quickly replaced and this was a good reminder about this life thing.

Ah, but paying attention to rhythm and movements is good. I've seen videos, for example, of presidential candidates at their rallies encouraging attacks on minorities and the press - these videos have been placed side by side of Civil Rights movements when hatred was encouraged on others.

Yes, keeping one's eyes open to how one embraces society or seeks to destroy it is always important.
My eyes are wide open.

No comments:

Post a Comment