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This is Jude law in his role as Inman in Cold Mountain. Except for his blue eyes, he looks very much as I imagine Trey McShannon, and he has the right air of reserve and quiet strength. And, in my humble opinion, he is very easy on the eye.

I started teaching this week, and it’s shaping up to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I’m at a brand new Muslim private school here in Halifax. It’s fascinating culturally, and my three students – two girls in Grade Seven and one in Grade Nine – are a joy. They not only want to learn, they’re hungry to learn.

I have to wonder why, in North American culture, the love of learning – our basic curiosity – is so often lost. Is it a matter of having too many things? Is it lack of example? I look around me and see the constant dumbing down of our literature, our movies, our textbooks, the lowering of our expectations. One of my grade sevens is reading Emily Dickinson and writing poetry of her own. She and her schoolmates have aspirations to be doctors and artists and authors. The sky is the limit. They are outspoken, but respectful and kind. They want to learn science and history and Shakespeare. Surely there’s a lesson here somewhere.

Perhaps it’s because these girls are very aware that they are lucky to be allowed an education. Gratitude can be a wonderful thing, can’t it?

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