Reader's Lens: Inspirational Signs Point Outward at Napavine Elementary


I was out on my walk in the predawn, as is my custom, and as daylight began to illuminate the little town I live in I began noticing that the school windows were full of posters and signs facing outward.

Napavine is a classic slice of an Americana that once was. The center of town on the proverbial main street contains two churches, a mom and pop store, the post office, the school and the city park. The town layout speaks of an era gone by. In many ways the rush that our technological advances have brought arrived here much slower than elsewhere.

If you venture out on a walk, or go to the park, or even just drive through town you'll see these signs. They are mostly short inspirational statements meant to communicate purpose and worth to the students quarantined at home, written by the teachers and staff, and I think especially to give the sense of something unchanging in the midst of a rapidly changing world. We all need a connection, a grounding, to that which does not move.

We are living in profound moments. As other's have stated, this is this generation's 9/11. These kids at Napavine Elementary will one day speak about this to their grandkids, decades from now. It's a good reminder as parents or mentors that our words, attitudes and actions are probably speaking to our kids even more acutely than normal.

These aren't necessarily fun images. I shot them in black and white because it felt much different than what I generally photograph. My work here may be lacking, as I have much to learn about photography. The scene I've attempted to capture however, abounds in profundity. Today is not a normal day and this season is not a normal season.

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven... a time to weep and a time to laugh... a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing..." - Ecclesiastes 3:1,4,5


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