In a perfectly synchronized moment the weather became less humid and I remembered that the school had a butterfly garden. They call it the 'meditation garden". Impulsively, I shooed my arriving students out the door and took them to draw plants... and, being a lovely day with no complaints from my charges, I was able to do a drawing myself. I notice the milk weed are different down here than up north- the leaves are the same but the light purple flowers are larger and less delicate and numerous. They are downright crazy exaggerated in their display. The flowers reminded me of women parading on Lincoln Road. I didn't paint them---just concentrating instead on a caterpillar and a monarch. So many of my students are poised in between these two natural stages of life.
I love working with teenagers because of the potential and their inability to really see too far (like a caterpillar on a short stalk). I feel like a cheerleader telling them how soon, soon enough, they themselves will be flying like the insects around them. They, in turn, grimace back at me.