It’s a windy autumn in the desert. There are no stands of evergreens or pines to break the force–only dust, dry and crumbly under feet and irritating sand in the eye. The first graders lined up with fortitude in this dust. We waited patiently for the photographer to call us. Today was picture day.
The children passed in an eight-year journey before my eyes. I have seen this before with my own children and realize that this very moment in first grade is fleeting and is carried away easily on the wind. After sending 18 students back to class after they waited in a single line in a different building, “the earth ship,” with its sculpted walls of colored light and clay, I was surely out of breath and tired. There was a large screen in the room, hiding the natural beauty. The subjects sat in front of this photo package necessity.
I had only one student left waiting with me. Then it was my turn, and I went in to pose. I wore my best today, a red rose floral patterned dress, but the wind had whipped me all around. I am pretty sure there was an alarming layer of earth upon me. The photographer snapped the photo and in that instant I was self-conscious, vulnerable, and nervous. I saw the photo on the computer and the photographer apologized immediately. I knew then, I had the opportunity to retake if I asked.
From the doorway came her voice of reason, sweetness, and authority. “Your photo is beautiful Ms. Cervantez.” With that we left the clay and colored glass bottle walls of the building. I left with courage and the reminder that children always tell the truth, even when it’s windy and a lie would fly away quickly.