Friday, May 14, 2010

Happy Friday on a cool but sunny mid-May day!

I'm still experimenting with my blog layout and have picked one of my May Day parade photos for now behind the title.

Breathe: a good reminder for the end of an unusually hectic week, no?

Yesterday, which was chilly and rainy, my colleagues and I were helpers at our college Commencement ceremony.  Because of the rain, we were forced to line students up along the basement corridors of Northrup Auditorium, using some ancient practice rooms to get people to fill out their name cards and put on their robes and (for the masters-level grads) their hoods, an archaic bit of velvet and silk that is a bit tricky to get on right (it needs to be pinned in the front if you aren't a male graduate, in which case the loop for your shirt button works; and it needs to be draped right, with the silk side pulled out at the bottom, but not too much).  Helping with the hoods allowed us to give people a bit of a reassuring pat, as they nervously fumbled with their caps and tassels and bobby pins and such.

These adult masters-level graduates were, it seemed, suddenly very young and shaky.  Starting something new, something unknown.  The energy is always amazing at these events.  Something about ceremony touches us deeply.

One young graduate, rushing through at the very last minute, left something precious on the table - a plastic bag with a certificate of cremation and a clay paw print of her recently deceased dog.  We could only speculate that she was bringing the spirit of a beloved long-time companion animal with her through this transition in her life.  Fortunately, the student's name and address was on the package, so I went back to my office after the graduates were safely delivered to the auditorium and hunted down her phone number and e-mail address.  Early today, I got a response - she had gone back hunting for this lost memento, and was pleased that I had kept it safe for her.

I had the sense that there was a story to be told about this beloved pet, but can only speculate about the loss coming right at the point of completing this difficult task of a masters' degree.

May she fare well in her new professional life.


Leone said...

I love your parade photo, good choice. I can only imagine the relief of the woman whose precious package you were able to return. Kindness is so important in this cynical world!

Laoch of Chicago said...

I always was reluctant to go to my personal commencements in College and then law school. I went mainly for my family because it seemed to make them happy but at the time I felt (perhaps wrongly) that the achievement was in the doing not the pomp and circumstances thereafter.

Madame DeFarge said...

Like the photo and like the new layout too. I never went to my post grad graduation - felt I'd look way too old compared to the bright young things with their first degrees. Kind of wish that I had now.