Today's brightening white sky was only dramatic in its contrast to the pinks of yesterday. The only hint of color came from the smokestack across the river, and even that was fairly muted.
Recent mornings have been pretty chilly again - even with a fleece jacket on - and they have been very wet, though I've been lucky with rain all year. The heaviest rain has missed sunrise for all but one or two mornings. One nice thing about heavy dew and rain-doused fields is the misty definition of spider webs. There were some great ones out there today.
Yesterday I played the piano for an adult education graduation ceremony not too far from here. I plan to publish an on line column about it later today, but there's more that I'll say about it here.
Adult Ed is a little-recognized segment of our communities which is vastly important. It takes up a bunch of citizens who have fallen through the cracks of mainstream education for one reason or another and gives them another shot at expanding their horizons. They are ready to become contributing members of their communities.
Even though there is nothing exciting about playing "Pomp and Circumstance" 18 times in a row, it is intensely heartwarming to see the tears and proud smiles of families and supporters of these graduates. In most cases, the road to this diploma was a circuitous one, with roadblocks and detours along the way. The decision to persevere and the ultimate success are extra sweet as a result.
On the other hand, there is one thing I won't mention in my news column. I have this little voice of worry in my head that I couldn't squelch even as I felt so proud of these hard working young people. The students receiving high school diplomas were all young people, mostly young women, and the reason that some have delayed their graduations was loud and clear.
The crying and cooing and crowing of babies and toddlers in the audience was almost constant throughout the ceremony. At times you could barely hear the speakers on the stage, but they soldiered on through their speeches, raising their voices as best they could.
In a moment of despair, I felt as though the children of these young women were putting forth a symbolic roar, a harsh dose of reality drowning out their mothers' day of personal triumph.
It gave me a little knot in my stomach to think of the constant and very vocal demands that some of these graduates go home to every day, young mothers who are hardly beyond their own childhood in some ways, yet way beyond childhood in others. I hope that they have the support and the inner stores of patience and perseverance to continue to grow, find themselves, discover their talents, and raise their children well all at the same time. I can think of no better indication of their success than their adult education graduation from high school, but I still worry about the long road ahead.
Meanwhile my own daughter, finished with classes, came home from marching practice with her white cap and graduation gown yesterday, not pregnant, not a mother, college bound. She, too, still has a lot of growing to do, and I'm grateful that she has the time and space to do it on her own for a while.
Then again, it is likely that she will not conceive the sweetness of her graduation day with the same sense of accomplishment as a young mother of two. Sometimes adversity brings forth our greater selves. Though I can't bring myself to wish adversity on anyone, I often wish that people could gain adversity's perspectives.
We all have to carve out our own path in whatever grassy meadow or tangled jungle lies before us.