Just a Backpack

Someone left a bag in my classroom yesterday. Just a regular backpack resting on the floor next to the table where I stand or sit. My bright and observant student, Shay Goodine, recorded the moment:



Teacher evaluations. The long sway of his braid as he turned to face the class. A wide blue dappled mug on the table, his watch facing up, a pile of books. A small backpack beside the leg of the table. No one had noticed. Something left behind.

He stopped midsentence. Picked up the bag.

Is this anybody’s?

Classmates searched each other’s faces.

He put the bag aside. Began a thought, then put it down. This is stupid, but I’m looking in the bag, he said.

A few student’s chuckled nervously, quietly.

Just a backpack, he announced. Stupid, but, these days… he muttered as he turned back to face the class.

Fear. The hush of still breath.Waiting. Wonder. When did we wonder like that? How did that wonder steal in our windows in the last years, creeping into our sleeping ears and into our everyday brains? Check the back pack.

A moment of fear in this grown man. Braid swinging. Just a back pack. Just a back pack.

Thoughts and prayers and peace and love to:


Thoughts and prayers and peace and love to:


Those injured in the marathon explosions

Those with injured loved ones

Those who witnessed

And helped

And those who witnessed

And could not help

The Boston Police and Fire Departments

The marathon volunteers

The marathon runners

Those who took in the hungry and the injured

And fed them and comforted them

Those who cried for people they did not know

Those watching on television

Or following events on Twitter or Facebook

Everyone who watched and felt fear

Or anger

And did not know where to place

Those feelings

Those most selfless who dashed toward

The danger

During this unfathomable but increasingly

Routine catastrophe,


But also those who died or were injured

In Iran’s earthquake this morning

Those innocents killed by bombs

In one of numerous wars

Happening now

Without cessation

Those innocents trafficked around the world

And those who are not so innocent, too

The hungry children

Those that will be killed today

Those who wake and fight depression

Or anxiety as a matter of course

Those expecting violence in their lives

Those not expecting violence

Those hugging their children

And wishing for something better

Those confronting hate with love,

To all of us rushing toward the waiting arms

Of the world,

Thoughts and prayers and peace and love.