Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Natural Beauty of New Hampshire (It Kind of Sneaks Up On You Sometimes)

When I walked out of work today, the air tasted so good. It was like drinking water from a mountain spring. I know that sounds cheesy, but I don't know how else to say it.

During my ride home, I couldn't seem to get enough of the scenery. Now, I've lived in New Hampshire my whole life; it isn't like there was anything there that I hadn't seen a million times. Perhaps my "drink" of air made me more aware, I don't know. Whatever it was, though, the snow-covered mountains in the distance, the snow dripping from trees, the ice-covered ponds (I randomly drive by a lot of ponds between work and home), it just made me want to be a part of it. I wanted to go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, neither of which I've done in ages, and just absorb.

When I get caught up in nature, it's usually at or near the ocean. You can taste the salt water in the air, and watching the tides is to me a constant reminder of how miraculous the earth is. There's a state park in Wells, Maine with really cool hiking trails that I very much enjoy, but it's based in an estuary area, so there's still that ocean connection. Then, of course, there's Bar Harbor, where ocean somehow coexists with mountains (this is strange for a New Hampshire beach native like me) and everything is just unspeakably gorgeous.

It's funny, but I got thinking about how I always seem to end up commuting to work. The drive to Nashua was almost all highway--that was the best part of commuting to Nashua, and that was the worst part of commuting to Nashua. Although I'm kind of a vehicular speed demon who truly enjoys highway driving (I know, I'm weird), there's not exactly a lot of impressive scenery on Route 101. My present commute through some legit New Hampshire backwoods takes my breath away every day, even when I get pissed off because I'm stuck behind somebody that feels it necessary to go twenty miles below the speed limit--and there's nothing I can do about it because there isn't a single passing zone.

I don't know if today's epiphany will change my irritation with some of the people that drive my route, but I do know that it was so amazing to be so blown away by nature that I was physically shaking.

It's a beautiful world.

Are Minorities Discouraged from Taking Upper-Level Classes?: The Elephant in the Room

As a public school teacher for sixteen years, I sometimes feel like I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen Standards come and go (and despite the brou...