Bird Droppings June 4, 2011
A buffalo snort in the dark
“Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.” George Bernard Shaw
In my years of searching and wandering about stepping on each stone to get across the stream one foot ahead of the next I have always tried to leave life a little better then when I got there. It does not always work but I try. When I am walking down the hall ways at school always trying to smile, joke, get others smiling, and joking, enjoying that moment of life.
“None of us is promised tomorrow. Today in all its beauty and sadness and complexity, is all we have. This light we see may be the last such day we have on this earth. There is no certainty, beyond the fact that one day we will have no tomorrow, and that it is not ours to know when that day will be.” Kent Nerburn, Small Graces
Just before school was out I had to report an incident that was told to me by a student, it is difficult to when told in sort of confidence yet severe enough to warrant reporting. In my same conversation with this student I was asked if my children ever got in trouble, I said no. The student responded, “They have never run away or sneaked out or …..” and again I said no. Immediately I asked instinctively if both parents lived at home. The response was hesitant but came, “no I live with my mom”, “but I don’t misbehave for my dad” and so forth. It comes to be the incident was not a one time deal it is a regular occurrence and as I talk with parents and students I find my life is not “NORMAL”. It seems normal is having kids who are in trouble, causing problems yelling at their parents etc. It seems it is parents who are hitting their kids drinking with and such that is what society seems to deem as normal.
“On life’s journey faith is nourishment, virtuous deeds are a shelter, wisdom is the light by day and right mindfulness is the protection by night. If a man lives a pure life, nothing can destroy him.” Buddha
I woke up from a vivid dream while I was getting my hour nap between taking the dog out three times last night. Just as the dog started barking I looked up at a clock on the kitchen wall it was 2:30 and I had been asleep slightly over an hour since my last venture outside. As I am thinking back to my dream, my dreams are generally simple ones with complexities woven in and through out. As I thought back nearly eight years to my starting back to graduate school. In preparing for my final presentation in my masters program, my advisor was continually using the word “weave”. Our project was about weaving all the pieces together. I actually at one point of my thinking was going to produce two covers and weave them together in a symbolic gesture indicative of my professors thought. Life is a weaving in reality as I look at each aspect intertwined with the next, a child growing up in the context of arguing and issues at home finds that is normal and yet asks what it would be like to live in my family where that doesn’t exist. I smile and joke and offer solace for the moment I have with that student not so much as to change the pattern of weaving but to offer stronger thread or a tighter warp to the pattern.
“Your life and my life flow into each other as wave flows into wave, and unless there is peace and joy and freedom for you, there can be no real peace or joy or freedom for me. To see reality–not as we expect it to be but as it is–is to see that unless we live for each other and in and through each other, we do not really live very satisfactorily; that there can really be life only where there really is, in just this sense, love.” Frederick Buechner
Nearly ten years back I wrote about the 16 hour syndrome for the first time and how as a teacher I had eight hours to undo the 16 parents and family have to deal with a child. Mathematically it doesn’t work and logically it doesn’t work and some parents do not want it to work, they have chosen the direction for their children and that is that. Yesterday I was discussing deeply perhaps too deeply learning and education in my part 1 dropping. Much learning should be occurring beyond the school.
“If, after all, men cannot always make history have meaning, they can always act so that their own lives have one.” Albert Camus
“The tragedy of life is not so much what men suffer, but rather what they miss.” Thomas Carlyle
Just before school let out a student asked me about absolute truths. I responded and had a response from a dear friend and so forth a dialogue and the context was a positive one as we shared ideas and thoughts. Again just a few days before school let out I reported an incident that had happened to a student and was told is was ok, it was discussed. Sadly that child went home thinking this is how life really is it is ok, parents and kids do yell at each other and hit each other and throw things at each other, it is ok.
“We dribble away our life, little by little, in small packages — we don’t throw it away all at once.” Robert A. Cook
“Life is a succession of lessons enforced by immediate reward, or, oftener, by immediate chastisement.” Ernest Dimnet
B.F. Skinner once said he could change anything through behavior modification. Who knows maybe he is right, maybe if we continue picking away and smiling and joking and living life as un-normal as it may be to some, others will catch on and who knows maybe just maybe when tomorrow comes that child who was asking about have my children ever run away will be asking how much they study each night in stead or what books they have read or what college are they going to.
“Every morning I wake up saying, I’m still alive; a miracle. And so I keep on pushing.” Jacques Cousteau
I have a friend at school a breast cancer survivor who said something very similar to me, for her “each day is a blessing to make the most of”. How profound and amazingly her students love her. She honestly cares about them and they know it.
“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” Crowfoot
Many years back I raised buffalo and as I would walk out each morning into the dark I would hear an occasionally snort and blow of air from our bull as he checked the cows and calves walking about in the morning haze. I knew life then and even today as I walk out and greet the morning though different sounds living in a subdivision but still I can hear if I listen hard that faint echo of a buffalo snorting in the fog as it drifts in. Life is what we choose to make it and how we weave or how we step into the day it is our choice. In teaching I emphasis example and having hanging on my back wall in my room a poster from my hippie days 1972 or so. Of course it is a black light poster, the posters title is “Children learn what they Live” and it goes on from there. Please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.