Am I home?


Bird Droppings June 2, 2014
Am I home?

It is a new morning; a cool morning for June yet the warmth of summer will soon overcome the welcome of the morning according to the weather. While I did not go sunrise chasing this morning even from my front yard one of most spectacular of the year. Earlier I walked out on a back porch with silence in the darkness save for the friendly chirp of crickets and peep of tree frogs echoing through the morning stillness. Off in the woods to the side of the house a few barks from coyotes and a howl perking our westie’s ears up. Overhead through the clouds and humidity a few stars crept through the leaves and pine needles, and few blips of fireflies produced an eerie effect as I rub the sleep from my eyes. As I stood there listening and pondering, I wondered if I am home.

“As I look over rugged mountain ranges I don’t wonder what inspired our ancestors to brave unfamiliar territory and many dangers to get here. They sought a place to live where they could do as they darn well pleased. Solitude is a small price to pay for independence and freedom.” Barbara Woodall, It’s not my Mountain Anymore

Several summers ago while attending a course in Mountain City Georgia on the Foxfire property on the side of Black Rock Mountain I had an idea of why not get teachers to be of Foxfire, and former Foxfire students together for dinner. I contacted through Facebook several folks I had been in communication with who lived near the area and we gathered for dinner. Laurie asked if she could bring a friend another Foxfire graduate. We got together eight teachers to be, myself and a professor from Piedmont College and talked about the impact of this type of teaching. By chance Laurie’s friend Barbara Woodall was in the process of publishing her first book, it’s not my mountain anymore. Barbara is quite a character and her stories of trips to New York as a Foxfire student and California amazed everyone. Dr. Hilton Smith who had been with the high school program early on had not even heard before some of these stories.

As the evening developed and discussion wound down I found Barbara inviting me to a book signing up in a gap in the mountains in an old grist mill now restored as a home. I was able to go and listened as she explained at her book signing why she wrote the book. Her writing was of a place that was home for so many generations that was being changed ever so rapidly. I left that day intent on reading my new book which I did in one sitting. It is a book about what is home and how we see that entity. I do recommend if you get a chance well worth the read.

Feeling like I am home is a special feeling. It has been a quite a few years since I felt that way having lived in a house I built, raised my children and numerous pets in for over twenty years. A place where my favorite dog passed away and I could sit with no one near if I chose to play my southern rock music loud. But I pondered deeper as I thought am I home now? Occasionally a car at 4:00 AM can still be heard out on the highway a mile or so from the house, perhaps someone going to work or coming from play. But the stillness of the back yard and silence of the trees makes me think perhaps I am home.

My children are all grown up and one son lives with us and two sons, a daughter in law and three grandkids live relatively close by. Earlier today everyone was asleep inside and my dog was resting getting bored with me staring into the night and listening to sounds that irritate his ears especially the yips and barks of the coyotes, although a low flying firefly catches her eye. I sit down to read and write and see a small book, How can one sell the air? It is a translation of a speech given by Chief Seattle many years ago and sits by my computer.

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” Chief Seattle

Where is home I wonder as I go deeper into my questioning? For many it is only a place where we rest eat our meals and tend to the chores of daily life. As I look thorough this simple book it is where our ancestors have been buried and where the pathways are worn by our feet and air been breathed and re-breathed by our children’s children that is where home is according to Chief Seattle. I wonder am I home? Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and to always give thanks namaste.

My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
Mitakuye Oyasin
(We are all related)
bird

PS. While writing and thinking an old favorite came to mind as I was helping my son write his pedagogical paper. Robert Fried wrote a book many years back about the secret to teaching, passion. There is no secret panacea no cure all for what problems come up in teaching it is about the passion the teacher brings to the class room.

“I want students to engage the way a clutch on a car gets engaged: an engine can be running, making appropriate noises, burning fuel and creating exhaust fumes, but unless the clutch is engaged, nothing moves. It’s all sound and smoke, and nobody gets anywhere.” Robert L. Fried, The Passionate Teacher: A Practical Guide

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