Universal Mother with Lively Child

I’ve walked right under David Moodie’s “Universal Mother with Lively Child” countless times during the almost-seven years I’ve taught at Keene State, and I noticed only this week that the “lively child” has a face: a white-painted eye peering from the center of the multi-colored spiral swaddled in the embracing swirl of a cloud-like and protective “mother.”

Universal Mother with Lively Child

This week, it feels like time has spiraled out of control, Friday arriving right on the heels of Monday. Two days a week, my schedule is pretty much subsumed by the commute to and from Keene from Newton, with a summer school class safely nested between my coming and going. Smack dab in the middle of the week, I’ve been teaching a meditation class at the Zen Center, which requires its own kind of in-the-moment preparation, and in the moments I’m not teaching in Keene or Cambridge, my online classes always seem to require attention.

I’m no Universal Mother, but as a teacher, I can imagine what it’s like to be pulled in multiple directions as various “children” voice their needs and concerns. There’s always someone with a question, or something that needs tending, or a situation that requires attention. When I was a child, I was told that teachers (like mothers?) have eyes in the back of their heads so they can continually watch their charges, but I never imagined that teachers (like mothers?) might sometimes feel the need to keep one eye always open, just in case there’s something going wrong somewhere.

Universal Mother with Lively Child

I guess I like the fact that Moodie’s “lively child” never sleeps, keeping a constant watch over the comings and goings at Keene State College. With her “lively child” on the lookout, maybe the “universal mother” can get a moment or two of shut-eye (or at least enjoy just “hanging out”) knowing her “baby” will let her know as soon as he spots anything amiss in the world below their spiraling embrace.

In keeping with the theme of “time spiraling out of control,” this is my contribution to last week’s Photo Friday theme, Spiral. I tell myself that if I just keep spinning time’s spiral, eventually a “week late” will seem like “right on time.”