This world isn’t cold and barren,
As you stare at me with those lullaby brown eyes.
It is not a force to reckon with or a beast to tame.
It is a living thing struggling to make sense of left and right,
Of up and down, of black and white, these gifts of stimuli.

There are sailboats in the distance on this borrowed beach, there is a wooden walking pier, rickety and worn with the heedless tread of two hundred dollar loafers, there is a sense of precociousness to the whole construct. Yet we, standing here in our tennis shoes and jogging pants, stare at the same water with the same pulse and the same tinge of melancholy washing over our bodies in this late October sky, the most enormous of all the months.

I take your picture and you take mine and we smile and hold hands and skip rocks, laughing as one after the other kerplunks into the foamy tide, swallowed whole. We travel through these memories together, striving and reaching and yearning for a bliss that is ours, is complete with fraught and danger, struggle, strife, calm, love, virtue. It is swallowed whole by the tide, fragrant spices for the soup, mixed and unrecognizable individually.

They are the sunflowers of the imagination and the glue that binds my ten year old hands to an elementary school desk. They are the mortar and not the bricks. Brown eyes, standing there holding your hand in a salute to the sun, staving off this divine brightness, they are you. These memories are you.

By Michael Gallagher

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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