Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A couple of glorious magazines came in the mail today, what more could one ask for to make a summer day complete???

Friday, June 24, 2005

The papers and opinion blogs are all abuzz with astonishment over the Supreme Court's eminent domain decision, Kelo v. New London, but this collection of photos over at Lilek's says quite a bit for me, so I don't have to cuss and jump up and down. It's hard to jump up and down in boring old electronic words on a screen anyway...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

To counter what may amount to revulsion from one more poem without much concrete meaning or perhaps any limbic value, here's a photo from the Endowment Run area during a fishing trip last week.

What a treat! More poetry! This one second draft, too:

To the century old Box Elder-
having passed throuh one too many cycles
of moisture then long drought,
though with a full crown of anxious new leaves
and a trunk as big around as
twelve handsome men;
when the wind blows
and then slackens
to blow anew,
it's the heart that matters
(especially if the skin has cracked.)
And, if the root has gone dry,
all the tea in China
won't save that grand
old tree
from the fires
of the coming winter.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Ryan came over with his kids for a fire, s'mores and a bit of the gab this solstice eventide. Good times indeed.
A poem written upon the Solstice:
(second draft)

Having Built

With a deadly blow
and windows blackened,
though facing sunward
our houses would seem in order
from without.
Even the poor are burdened with a sort of pride
as new houses are built,
shining like alabaster in
the summer sun-
each timber placed higher and
covering hunting ground
and grandfather’s farm,
having forgotten the lessons
of family and friends,
all those
passed on and covered over,
for whom no cosmetic will overlay
death's progression or allay
the forgetting of human hearts.
It is if the mantle of the elders
had never fallen to the next
or the next,
or even the next.
We, today's scurrying ants
with worn-out, though fashionable pants
can’t remember what is beneath our feet
or before our lips
aside from raw material
and the throb of expanding economic output.

Ah, competition’s fair face,
having been stricken
by errant balls and
having wasted time spent watching
the play instead of the blue sky,
playing monopoly instead of
singing in the rain.
What is excellence?
What is right pursuit?
We few seek power well-spent, the
hope of both kinetic and potential
passed on in pure motion-
progression with a joyful smile.
Tribute is my goal,
as balance is achieved in each step,
I know these views grow
with me.

in the light of a summer moon,
being followed by lost friends
and the kindness of thieves.
Internally as without,
the hands spin with an abandon that betrays
a sour taste in my mouth
and cloud in my eye's lens.
can become a blank page,
and the first in line
be filled with compassion
for the last-
having willingly received light second hand from
a moon,
as the hope of a promise
can echo faces and sweet memories
long forgotten.
So shines the brow of the beloved,
shining like red sandstone
in the evening sun-
each memory placed higher
and deeper,
building commitment and broad shoulders
for the mantle that will descend
along with those who have passed
beyond the horizon and into
our greatest hope.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

I had some great and interesting times this last week at least in part because of the aging major appliance department here at the Burningham house.
After replacing the decrepit freezer whose door had come apart and needed defrosting almost every other week earlier in the month, our fridge and dishwasher died on virtually the same day.
Our discussion over priorities and finances didn’t take any time at all, we needed a fridge and the dishwasher could wait for later. And since I had an Electronic High School faculty meeting up in SLC on Friday, at least I could avail upon the Good State of Utah pay for my mileage in picking up the precious thing.
After the EHS meeting, I found a fair sufficient fridge at Sears in Salt Lake after much deliberation and calculation. Much to my dismay, while waiting at the delivery door and fastening the crate to the back of the 4Runner, the wind picked up. It didn't slacken at all before 3:30, when I made like mad down the freeway toward home.
In fact, the gusts picked up quite a bit enroute. I had a heck of a time keeping the rig headed straight at much more than 50mph, so I began looking forward much more impatiently to meeting with a friend of mine whom I hadn't seen since coming home from my LDS mission in Colombia. I got off of the freeway near Thanksgiving Point and called his work number, wondering where and when he'd like to get together.
He said, "Have you ever spent time at Thanksgiving Point? It's a nice place to poke around for a while." So, quite happily, I turned into the parking lot and shut down the machine, ducking with relief out of the wind to await Dan's arrival.

Dan Mortenson graduated from Bountiful High two years before I did, but before he left the joint for the big world, I had a few opportunities to get to know him a little bit and develop a long-standing admiration for his demeanor and intellect. He has a brother, Dave, who is my age and followed closely his brother's outstanding footsteps, so I was able to stay in contact with the most excellent family.
Dan went to Colombia on his LDS mission, so there was another commonality. The last time I saw heard from him was around the time of my return home to Bountiful, and time did its worst to separate much that was associated with my youth from there on out.
I saw one of Dan and Dave's brothers, Craig, and his wife briefly in Logan back in '98. They were heading for Oregon after finishing some school; that was a brief but very welcome reminder of the great Mortenson clan and their ways.
Somehow, Dave or Dan found this collection of digi-tripe in a search engine last year, and Dan sent a missive to verify whether or not the writer of said trip was, in fact, the Adam B. of yore. We have since been writing back and forth from time to time, trying to arrange some sort of meeting between the two neighboring counties of Utah and Sanpete.
Dan's sister-in-law, Jennifer, teaches at the Electronic High School with me (another fortunate circumstance). She re-introduced herself at the faculty meeting I mentioned earlier and we enjoyed a few minutes talking. 'Twas great to see her, and I took the opportunity to put two and two together and ask of her Dan's phone number to arrange some sort of meeting later in the afternoon. After all, I was in the general area with a snatch of extra time...
I was not in the least bit disappointed with my decision. Dan and I had a great discussion over chips and a smoked turkey sandwich, catching up on the times and exchanging philosophical and family currencies. We talked of fishing, old houses, Divinity Schools, James and Kathleen Flake, family news, more fishing, and a generally upbeat and insightful collection of delightful ephemera.

We parted all too early so that I might be able to return home the hero with our new fridge before too late in the evening. I had an exceptional time. I was even able to extract a promise from Dan that he would at least come down to Sanpete and check on things generally, acting as a point-man for Dave and Craig with the end of drawing the Morten-brothers out to our wee boondocks and into the wilderness and beauty beyond.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

It's been a while since I posted any local images, so, in the spirit of springtime (and in contrast to the rest of the day's miserable posts), I give you several clickable photos:

Isn't this what you think of when YOU think spring??? I don't think ol' G. Hayduke would be fond of this particular roadsign, especially since it maligns all the 'good' chemicals. Damn herbicides fertilizers and pesticides, anyway.
I reckon they're currently a "necessary" evil in our culture, unless you want a citation from your local Beautification Committee, that is.

This is taken north of Fairview, looking toward the south.

Ryan and I heading over the mountain to fish the Huntington, near the summit looking west.

Same vantage, looking south. The Horseshoe is on the right for reference. Spring City is down there, somewhere.

It must be summer! The sheep are moving to their mountain homes! The annual roadsheep photo. (Here's last year's.)
Some more content from the class, this time a letter of introduction required as an assignment to a Professor from whom I've already taken a class. If I last all the way through these courses it will truly be a miracle.

Dear Dr. xxxxx,
I went into teaching because I feel a deep need to help others and a desire to assist people in the development of curiosity about learning that I seem to have been born obsessed with.
I am able to connect with young adults and children on a level that opens communication, and have demonstrated an ability to work with even the most stubborn or 'difficult' of young adults. This has lead to solicitations for help and work in a field that I feel 'makes a difference' and is worthwhile.
I don't think that much of what follows will come as a surprise to you, Dr. xxxxx, but here it is
As I have been drawn deeper into the what I (for good or ill) feel is the morass of pedagogical training, I have gotten more and more discouraged with my chosen field. My own confidence in my ability and talent receives blow after blow because of disagreement with and the distaste I feel for the Educational Establishment. Much or all of the data and research within the body of pedagogical scholarship has a place, but it and/or its presentation in most cases drives me to maniacal tears.
Please don't feel offended or annoyed with me, I know that you are far too intelligent for that sort of silliness, but the classes that I have taken out of obligation to Licensure have been, at best, drudgery to me. I enjoy your personality and the excitement you bring to your teaching, Dr. xxxxx. I thank you deeply for that.
Nevertheless, I continue to teach because there will probably always be those who fall between the large cracks in education's societal armor, as I am personal and at least pseudo-intellectual evidence of.
Very sincerely,
Adam Burningham

Please direct any offers of employment or suggestions for my imminent career-change to my email address.
Thank you.
Hey, Kids!
I just started another aggravating Education class at the behest of the Utah State Office of Eduction! The following is another of my occasionaly posts of excerpts from my comments within discussion groups mandated by these great classes!
Oh what fun!

When I hear or see the acronym NCLB, my crest falls and my countenance darkens. I have heard from all levels of our state and federal bureaucracy about the 'intent' and 'reality' of the legislation and I have seen how it affects the teachers in the schools and students we are here for since NCLB came into play.
It has not been positive in our rural or at-risk populations, nor has it been anything but an expensive distraction from the day-to-day labor of nurturing and educating our students.
That is the down-to-earth, no-positive-rhetoric answer to the original question, from my humble perspective.
We can speak interminably to the high-minded intent of the legislation and praise the grand promise of a Plato's Republic rewritten by Republicans, but the net result of the legislation has been contention and division, differing levels of fear and a general atmosphere of resentment at federal effrontery and blamesmanship thinly veiled by educated jargon about promises and educational ideology.
These reforms express my deep belief in our public schools and their mission to build the mind and character of every child, from every background, in every part of America.
President George W. Bush
January 2001

How can one build a logical case against this sort of carefully-crafted emotional language? Who would try? This program must be good; it must only be balm for the neglected and downtrodden!
I probably can't argue with any of the points brought out in favor of NCLB, nor could I defend rhetorically or with much evidence empirical my opposition to what has come about because of the law.
I can only say that reasoned and open faculty correlation and in-service coupled with pedagogical freedom and the resulting passion would do the students much more good in a month than this boondoggle called NCLB has done in four years.
Trickle-down has done no more good in Education Reform than it has done in Economic Reovery, and I wish that the general and educational public would see and acknowledge the power of grass-roots policy in both. As Michelle so aptly said in her previous post, "As I have been reading the text for our class, it says over and over that good teachers let students drive their instruction."
But that is almost as pie-in-the-sky as the garbage given lipservice to in NCLB.<>
I'm fairly sure the educational elite would much rather elucidate policy than empower an educational revolution, anyway.

Oh, coincidently, there's lots more of this from me in the forum. And probably a bit more to come.

Friday, June 10, 2005

This “summer” is going nicely, with the appropriate amount of winter pull and summer push involved in the springtime weather. We got up to 90 degrees briefly a couple of weeks ago, and the last couple of days have struggled to get up over sixty degrees. Some would heap scorn upon this sort of weather, but to me it conserves precious runoff and soil moisture, giving those sure-to-come high nineties something to lean against in my mind and soul.
Ryan and I have had great opportunities to feel like we’re making progress as fly fishermen. I’ve been heading up to the Huntington River over the mountain quite frequently, and over to the Thousand Lake Mountain vicinity a few times to try out what we’ve learned about dry fly tossing. Success has been had, and the birds accompanying us to the waters have been a delight to see and hear as we’re doing our best to fool the wise old fish with our less than expert casts. I’m sure I’ve heard a few Mountain Bluejays laugh under their calls.
The Burningkids have been running around our field making forts and playing with our neighbor’s goats between baseball practices and games all around the county. Jerusha, Jesse and Bryn are each playing on a separate team, having fun and learning the virtues and vices of competitive sports in the process. We hope our kids don’t have too much of Drie’s and my curse of being Nowhere People after a fashion, but I’m afraid the kid’s discussions with us about their peculiar observations of human nature and behavior on their team don’t bode well for their social conformity. But who really knows what the future holds? Certainly not I.
Hope springs eternal afterall, especially during the glorious spring of the year, so I think I’ll go outside and dig a hole for a tree.