And he said, Draw not nigh hither:
put off thy shoes from thy feet,
for the place where on thou
standest is holy ground. -- Exodus 3:5
Peter, eight years old, diagnosed as paranoid or perhaps as schizophrenic or maybe the diagnosis changed with each new doctor. He, along with five other students made up my class at Christ Church Child Center.
Maura was considered autistic. Each morning she built a church out of Tinker Toys and genuflected. Tracy at the age of five stopped talking. At eight she bore the label elective mute. Carl brought his lunch wrapped in layers of wraps -- Saran Wrap, aluminum wrap, and paper wrap. Scotch tape held the wraps together. David walked backwards-- down the stairs, down the hall, and across the room. Ellen lost her pronouns and referred to everyone as me. She sometimes slapped herself.
Each day we followed a set routine, handed out tokens every ten minutes. I taught them to read with varying degrees of success.
One day Montgomery County sent a crew to check the trees in a local park. They marked a large Black Oak tree as unfit and tied a bandana around her middle. I, along with six students and four other adults, took a field trip to see the tree before it was chopped down. We spoke to a man in a truck. Peter began to walk around and around the truck, laughing and jumping.
" Come back after we've cut the tree down," he said. " They might enjoy seeing how we grind up what's left of the stump." I asked some more questions and he asked some questions. Peter continued to squeal with excitement.
Two days later Tom, the man in the truck, showed up at the school.
"Yes," I said, " I know him."
He came to offer us an invite to visit the truck that they had used to cut down the tree.
We went, but we didn't just watch as spectators. Tom and a friend of his took each student into the cab of the machine and let them look out the window. They spun the cab left and right. Peter, who never let anyone touch him sat on Tom's lap. Time stopped for a few moments. Peter sat still, then laughed and applauded. Tom lifted him up and they came out of the truck and together walked around and around the truck.
And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush was not consumed.