fence transparency

This text is by Shoshanna Utchenik in her capacity and does not, necessarily, reflect the views of different infinite mile contributors, infinite mile co-founders, the authors' employers and/or other affiliations.  

Blessing of the Paths: a Back-to-School Letterlink - issue 9: September 2014

Shoshanna Utchenik

Weaving Protective Eyes, Ojo de Dios, into the Boggs School fence
Weaving Protective Eyes, Ojo de Dios, into the Boggs School fence, August 2014, Detroit.


Dear Parents and Guardians,

We are ready.

At least, swimming in papers, construction dust, building inspector missives, energy bar wrappers and unboxed supplies, we prefer a beginning to this endless “readying.”

We are here in love/ in love with Here/ in love with who we are here with.

We deliberate how to raise kids for the world we want, yet equip them to survive the world we have...
knowing that we can’t know what exactly we are getting ready for.

Gil Scott-Heron, We Almost Lost Detroit, 1990 U.K.
Gil Scott-Heron, We Almost Lost Detroit, 1990 U.K.
[film still from concert footage]
http://youtu.be/b54rB64fXY4


We aim to act only on love and never on fears; there is no hope against a fear that feasts on the minds of the able. No hope against such
belly of stones.
Stones in the throat.
Stones to push out of mind. Stones to roll up hills.

Francis Alys, Paradox of Praxis 1: (Sometimes Making Something Leads to Nothing), Mexico City, 1997
Francis Alys
Paradox of Praxis 1: (Sometimes Making Something Leads to Nothing)
Mexico City, 1997
[film still/screen shot]
4:59 min.


But some part of each of us is here because we would like to form a protective bubble around our children, and we would like that bubble to be strengthened each night while they sleep, with each person they meet and each threshold they cross.

We make our days a living prayer, each turn of the pencil sharpener releasing one to the skies:
May they walk in safety
May they walk in peace
May they walk with courage and wisdom
towards the things they are called to
rather than run away from the things they, we, all of us, fear.

May they walk in love and light, with hunger for truth and love of each other.
May their walk straighten us from our jaundiced hunch over these ill-glowing screens that sear stories of hate, despair, markets, murder into our beleaguered minds.

May their rights redeem all our wrongs, even the ones that continue on right now. And now. And now.

Stockyard Institute, Chicago. Gang-Proof Suit, 2000
Stockyard Institute, Chicago
Gang-Proof Suit, 2000.
http://www.stockyardinstitute.org/gang-proof-suit-2000/


May they forgive us.

May they be free from want, from hunger, from thirst,
-but may they struggle and suffer just enough to learn grit, and to know compassion for every living being.

May they love each other like we long to, like we’ve never managed, despite the fact that we can’t show them how. Despite us, may they keep their pure hearts and hope and utter glee, their joy in jumping,
their delight in swinging sticks in the air,
their rush to hold up a friend tangled in the swing.

May they stand for each other, sing out with full voice, walk proud of each other, may they walk side by side with each other, may they listen with compassion and patience and love.
May they walk the earth eager to share discoveries with each other upon their return.

May they return.

May they return.

May they return crowned with the same halos they came in with, the halos of their families’ love, the halos of their myriad potentials, those very same fingers of light reaching farther and brighter forth from them, branches, beams, rays of their wholly wild, feeling, phenomenal selves.

Weaving Protective Eyes, Ojo de Dios, into the Boggs School fence, August 2014, Detroit
Weaving Protective Eyes, Ojo de Dios, into the Boggs School fence, August 2014, Detroit.

Francis Alys, When Faith Moves Mountains

Francis Alys
When Faith Moves Mountains (making of)
Lima, Peru, 2002
in collaboration with Cuauhtémoc Medina and Rafael Ortega
http://www.francisalys.com/public/cuandolafe.html
15:06 min.
[film still/screen shot]


Despite us, and the wheels of time we’ve failed to grind to a halt, let alone reverse, despite us, may they be called to greatness and walk into it like a familiar hoodie.

May they be judged on the content of their character, and may that phrase mean nearly nothing to their children.

So much of what we prepare for is The Unknown and un-anticipate-able. When the kids finally begin, they will tell us what they need. They will ask for help with sage words or they will cry out for it in ways that burn their faces and embarrass their friends. We will all plow the road together, whether with Bobcats or plastic-wrapped sporks.

Weaving Protective Eyes, Ojo de Dios, into the Boggs School fence, August 2014, Detroit
Weaving Protective Eyes, Ojo de Dios, into the Boggs School fence, August 2014, Detroit.


Wendell Berry wrote, “There are no unsacred places;
There are only sacred places
And desecrated places.”

May we honor the many paths that bring us to 4141 Mitchell Street, and may we hold sacred the path forward that we forge together, into the unknown.

Boggs School students walking, May 2014
Boggs School students walking, May 2014


Sincerely yours,

Shoshanna

fence transparency
fence transparency
fence transparency
fence transparency
fence transparency
fence transparency
fence transparency
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