I’ve been looking too much through lenses, and the bright sun on the bright snow makes me squint my eyes and I want to twist a dial or refocus something against the glare. And the cold air is full of light, and the blue sky and the vivid shadows of black branches on white houses makes me want to open the bedroom window, but as soon as the blinds are open the light is full of cold air.

February is finally over. In the occasional balmy days (or hours) in between the blizzards, I can see a light at the end of tunnel. It’s still dark when I leave for work, but the sky is pink as I follow a concrete arc onto the Southfield freeway, with the streetlights winking out into the horizon. If I leave work on time, it’s still light out. I find myself craving bright colors like a fix. My mouth waters for the color red and open windows and the sound of melting snow and the landscape pushing brown curves up through tattered grey lace.

I am allowing myself a small morning space (though it’s technically no longer morning) to write here, drink a(nother) cup of coffee, and listen to Radiohead’s newest. I planned to finish my taxes this weekend, but it didn’t happen. I planned to unclutter my car/room/inbox/to-do list, but those might not happen, either. I am trying to open up small spaces in busy days where I can rest, because days off (or even full night’s sleep) don’t really exist on my horizons, at least not for a while.

This past Friday I took approximately 40 middle school students to the Detroit Institute of Art. The art teacher and I organized this joint trip to see a tour of “Art in the Spanish Speaking World” – but was also a good excuse to go to one of my favorite places in Detroit. I have been very anxious about this trip, which lucky for everyone turned into meticulous organization and planning. I had to cancel the first scheduled trip, due to low numbers, but then I got a grant from the museum. We filled up nearly every seat on the bus, found replacement chaperones at the last minute, squeezed in a few last-minute students, and waited over an hour for our delayed bus the morning of the field trip. Once we were finally in the museum, I turned into a hyper-aware, nervously-organized version of myself, until my dear students in my tour group learned to recognize my eye-shifting and list-clutching and reassure me: “I’m right here. We’re all here.”

I was so proud of our students. They were respectful and engaged, and mostly restrained their giggling fits (omg, boooooobs everywhere!)

DIA Field Trip!

Diego Rivera's mural - my favorite part of the museum, and the primary inspiration for this field trip.

DIA Field Trip!

Not part of the Spanish tour, but still one of my favorite pieces in the modern wing.

DIA Field Trip!

Seeing dead people.

I want to go back to the DIA soon, perhaps by myself – I have a free educator’s pass. Four years ago during the fateful weekend that I spent in Not-Barcelona, the hours I spent alone in Madrid’s art museums were one redeeming factor. It was also the most deeply emotional experience I have had with art – perhaps because I was loopy for lack of sleep or a roof over my head, but also because I could put music in my ears, wander the galleries and look at any one painting for as long as I wanted. I think this may be one of the Quiet Spaces that I so desperately need these days.


One Response to Esperanza

  1. Pingback: Seven Years Treading Water | Me importa. Me importas. Me importan.

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