Sun & Storm

Our messy, glorious world has blown spring semester into something completely unfamiliar. It’s more than a little scary — pandemics and personal space, empty classrooms and open hearts.

What is our response, as a community? 

Is it possible to balance discomfort with inspiration?

How can we keep company and bear witness as we step into this new weather? 

One answer lies on this page, whether you view it on a computer screen or your cell phone. Sun & Storm provides a landing spot, available on the blog or via Instagram. Here you will find a bit of our shared, human experience during Spring Semester 2020. 

 

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Trunk Abe Schultz
This is the trunk that Abraham Schultz packed with all his belongings to attend college in the 1930s. After one semester, he was called home: the family farm had failed. Read about what came next for the grandfather of one SCCC team member, here. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Dandelion convention
Dandelions. The survivors of the plant world, unconcerned about social distancing in a nearly-empty Blue Bonnet Park this afternoon. 

 

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

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For Calling the Spirit Back from Wandering the Earth in Its Human Feet

Joy Harjo

Put down that bag of potato chips, that white bread, that
bottle of pop.

Turn off that cellphone, computer, and remote control.

Open the door, then close it behind you.

Take a breath offered by friendly winds. They travel the earth
gathering essences of plants to clean.

Give it back with gratitude.

If you sing it will give your spirit lift to fly to the stars’ ears and
back.

Acknowledge this earth who has cared for you since you were
a dream planting itself precisely within your parents’ desire.

Let your moccasin feet take you to the encampment of the
guardians who have known you before time, who will be
there after time. They sit before the fire that has been there
without time.

Let the earth stabilize your postcolonial insecure jitters.

Be respectful of the small insects, birds and animal people
who accompany you.
Ask their forgiveness for the harm we humans have brought
down upon them.

Don’t worry.
The heart knows the way though there may be high-rises,
interstates, checkpoints, armed soldiers, massacres, wars, and
those who will despise you because they despise themselves.

The journey might take you a few hours, a day, a year, a few
years, a hundred, a thousand or even more.

Watch your mind. Without training it might run away and
leave your heart for the immense human feast set by the
thieves of time.

Do not hold regrets.

When you find your way to the circle, to the fire kept burning
by the keepers of your soul, you will be welcomed.

You must clean yourself with cedar, sage, or other healing plant.

Cut the ties you have to failure and shame.

Let go the pain you are holding in your mind, your shoulders,
your heart, all the way to your feet. Let go the pain of your
ancestors to make way for those who are heading in our
direction.

Ask for forgiveness.

Call upon the help of those who love you. These helpers take
many forms: animal, element, bird, angel, saint, stone, or
ancestor.

Call your spirit back. It may be caught in corners and
creases of shame, judgment, and human abuse.

You must call in a way that your spirit will want to return.
Speak to it as you would to a beloved child.

Welcome your spirit back from its wandering. It may return
in pieces, in tatters. Gather them together. They will be
happy to be found after being lost for so long.

Your spirit will need to sleep awhile after it is bathed and
given clean clothes.

Now you can have a party. Invite everyone you know who
loves and supports you. Keep room for those who have no
place else to go.

Make a giveaway, and remember, keep the speeches short.

Then, you must do this: help the next person find their way
through the dark.

Thanks to our English professor, Dr. Lori Muntz, for bringing this poem to the surface today.

 

Monday, March 30, 2020

Kitchen Table Office
Working at home can involve hot beverages, journaling, and the sunshine outside the kitchen window. At the same time, many SCCC team members are finding it comforting to work at home with dogs cuddled up on the sofa, in a separate office space, or even outdoors on the patio. 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Happy Instructors
Dr. Maria Fe Laguitan captures a cold-weather selfie on handout day.

Our Colvin Adult Learning Center faculty and students are professionals at remaining undaunted in the face of upheaval. Check out the pop-up drive-thru the instructors created with individualized learning packets for every ESL student. The weather didn’t stop them. Viral fear didn’t stop them. And everyone will keep keep learning #nomatterwhat. Read the whole story here. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

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Refrigerator quote from a parent of a former SCCC student. She’s kept Hugo’s words on her daily radar through divorce, economic hardship, breast cancer, and now COVID-19.

The notion of a pandemic can create a sense that we are living out. highly dramatic fiction. French writer Victor Hugo, who authored “Les Miserables” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” knew something about social upheaval and personal struggle. Here’s his take on how to be at peace in the midst of it all.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Daffodil
The high winds in Liberal and Southwest Kansas over the March 19 weekend did not discourage this daffodil, which continues to bloom, unscathed, the following week.

As public health concerns compel us all to slow down, what catches your attention? The first spring flowers have emerged, and remind us of what American artist Georgia O’Keeffe observed: “No one sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see takes time — like to have a friend takes time.” Now that we’ve all been granted this unexpected gift of time, use some of it to notice flowers and nurture friendship. You may find, as O’Keeffe so famously did, that when you really look at a flower, “it’s your world for the moment.”

Grape hyacinth
Grape hyacinth blooming through a lawn in Liberal. These tiny flowers are surprisingly tough, and some of the first to emerge in spring.

Monday, March 23, 2020

We begin with this poem by the American poet Carl Sandburg, appropriate for this mist-blurred morning:

New Weather
Poem by Carl Sandburg from the collection Honey and Salt, published 1953. Photo taken by SCCC team member working at home during the pandemic, viewing the nearly empty parking lot at Cottonwood Elementary School building in Liberal, which is closed for the remainder of the school year by order of Gov. Laura Kelly.