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I had an afternoon to myself yesterday, and took my under exercised body swimming to help ease and distract my over exercised brain, and then my heart realised I had some space to listen and said, ‘You’re missing beauty’.

I realise how much I have taken for granted the beauty of the environment I live in in Scotland. Here, on a concrete college campus, I am surrounded by cheap plastic furniture and plastic cutlery with which we eat off polystyrene plates; outside is littered with discarded cigarette buts and chewing gum amidst an almost complete lack of greenery…and I realised that all this has been bothering me quite deeply. The invitation it seems is to try to find beauty in the apparently unbeautiful. More on this later, but for now, here’s a list of Good Deeds for this week, followed by some poems I wrote a while ago about beauty and a link to a wonderful TED talk about the value of beauty in creating an environment for a true education that brings out the best in everyone – enjoy:-)


Good Deeds Received

My father cooked me a really delicious meal, and shared with me a letter he’s written nearly 40 years ago to his mother about meeting my mother. It was an incredible read.

Students who were leaving asked me if they could take a photograph with me – it was very sweet.

Had a really good chat with my Mum on the phone – we laughed a lot:-)

Had a super quick response form a colleague who had taken the scissors for a craft project the night before. She brought them directly to my classroom within 15 minutes of my sending a text message and the activity I’d planned wasn’t delayed at all.

Had a very enthusiastic text message from an old school friend I want to catch up with while I’m in the area. We’re going to meet up next week and she offered to pick me up, as I don’t have my own transport here. Can’t wait to see her!

Received genuinely friendly, smiley service from a woman working int he coffee shop I went to yesterday, despite the fact that it was incredibly busy as it had just begun to rain and everyone had decided it was time for a coffee break!

Good Deeds Done

Paid my father back some money I owed him:-)

Sent a birthday card to a dear friend – on time!

Contributed to buying a milkshake for one of our students who’d run out of money.

Spent nearly two hours on my afternoon off tidying, cleaning and re-arranging my classroom which, though not ‘beautiful’ yet, is certainly now more welcoming. I also recycled or collected for re-use, piles and piles of paper… I’m not sure what this job is doing to my long term relationship with trees. I hope they will forgive me…

Made time to have a lovely talk with one student who hadn’t said much and chose the fifteen minute before class began to really open up and get chatty.

Made sure I was on time this morning to wave off and hug those who were leaving.

Decided to investigate ways of recycling the paper bags we give to all students for pack lunches on trips and found a wonderful list of craft ideas. Haven’t made any of these yet – but I will.


And here are three short poems I wrote on the subject of Beauty. Hmm, on re-reading sure, I’ve written better, but these do make some of the points of juggling in my heart and mind right now…

Beauty is…? I ask

silently you look around

then you nod and smile

looking at me directly

I understand and blush


Sure, the eye can see

but it’s only one witness

to life’s true beauty

close your eyes for a moment

bow to the beauty within


Birdsong before dawn

promises beauty hiding

beneath a dark sky

I won’t believe in ugly –

the sun hasn’t risen yet