Saturday, June 30, 2012

Eyes Have It

It's in the eyes. Often, the first time you encounter someone you can see their curiosity in their eyes. Intellectual curiosity. It lights up the soul. I've seen it a time or two in one of the nearly 5000 students in my classroom over the years. Dare I say these people light up a room. They have an innate energy that just seems to burst out in everything they do and speak about and pursue. A kind of cheerful approach to learning. So it was this light that drew me to a conversation this morning with a young woman who works at my local coffee shop. She was sitting at a table reading a book in Spanish. When I ambled over to see what she was reading and look at another book, a novel, on her table, she maintained the same level of connection that most of the baristas are required to extend toward their customers. But this was different. Rather than the forced friendliness accompanied by, "so what are you up to today,"she didn't have to say anything. The eyes said it all. We spoke for about 20 minutes and I learned that she's leaving soon for New Mexico and her first teaching job. That sparked more conversation. At my age now, I'm always weary about initiating a conversation with a much younger person. Intentions get lost. Water gets muddied. Care must be taken. But today, we spoke with such a pure enthusiasm about many things we have in common. When the topic somehow involved thoroughbred horses, she revealed herself to be a student of breeding too. That kind of matched energy is rare. It was wonderful to experience it again, no matter how brief. I suppose it's a kind of vicarious relationship. But either way, life's mystery, with coffee in hand, once again comes calling.

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