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I’ll admit it: today was a rough day. I am disheartened and discouraged by the confirmation of Betsy DeVos to lead the charge for public education in the United States, and am silenced by the confusion I feel when trying to understand those who support her.

So, to distract myself – because I have to remember that it’s ok to be distracted – I just spent some time going through pictures on my computer, remembering the wide range of things in this country that bring me joy. I thought I’d share a few, in case you’re struggling in the same way I am today.

If, unlike me, you’re happy about today’s confirmation, well – perhaps you’ll look at these pictures, enjoy this blog, and at least acknowledge that its writer is a public school kid, through and through, who believes that access to a good, free, and fair education is a cornerstone of our democracy.

Onwards and upwards, I suppose. And for now, just for a few minutes, a look backwards, at some of the moments of my life, like that time when…

I ate an amazing, simple meal on a farm in Maine:

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…I spent an unexpectedly delightful day and night in Rhode Island, with the sister of a friend who I hadn’t really known until then: 

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…I discovered that there is such a magic as Fried Avocado Tacos, in Austin:

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…I marveled at the sky in Virginia,

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And at the late-summer light in Maryland,

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And at a rainbow in Delaware, while my Tator Tot smiled along:

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…I walked across a bridge and realized how dense the green can become in Minnesota in July:

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…my friend sent me a picture of her cat in a bathtub in Pennsylvania:

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…North Carolina showed me how beautiful its beaches can be:

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…the morning, summer sun in Baltimore burst into my heart, and stayed there: 

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…I fell in love with an Alaskan winter, 

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And the sunrises in Utah:

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…Seattle unfolded before me in unmistakable charms:

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…all across the country, so much more: 

By the time I finished strolling through my pictures, I’d come to remember how much I love my country. But the point, actually, is that I had never really forgotten; that’s why I am convinced that we are, as a nation, better than what we’re seeing with the confirmation of Cabinet members who are woefully unqualified.

I find myself, as I search for a way to close this post, deep in thought about the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met while traveling throughout this country. I have been fortunate to do so. And though these are pictures of places, I know it’s the people who make my life what it is, and what it has been, and what it will be.

On a day when it is hard to be optimistic, I find in their faces the joy that encourages me, still.

 

 

 

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