Bird Droppings November 25, 2020
Perhaps I had a vision walking in moonlight
As I walked out in the morning cool today, the sky was hidden in clouds. There was a sense of light about as I stood looking around, thinking as I do every morning. I will ponder my day and the week ahead even though I had cars to gas up and a run to Wal-Mart for odds and ends. I was reading very early this morning on one of my friend’s pages and a comment was made about me being a searcher. I have often felt that way as I wander through life. What was said about to me once many years ago from of all places, a psychic I had the chance of running into as I do find myself in those sort of places at times. She said I had been a searcher for a long time and perhaps still was. I am sort of a Daniel Boone of continually learning, searching, and pondering.
“I am one of the searchers. There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life, hoping to uncover its ultimate secret. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand. We like to walk along the beach; we are drawn by the ocean, taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mystery and unspeakable beauty. We like forest and mountains, deserts and hidden rivers, and the lonely cities as well. Our sadness is as much a part of our lives as our laughter. To share our sadness with one we love is perhaps as great a joy as we can know-unless it is to share our laughter. We searchers are ambitious only for life itself, for everything beautiful it can provide. Most of all we want to love and be loved. We want to live in a relationship that will not impede our wandering, nor prevent our search, nor lock us in prison walls; that will take us for what little we have to give. We do not want to prove ourselves to another or to compete for love.” James Kavanaugh
As I read this passage I thought of people who draw my attention and I theirs. My old room at Loganville High School would always be filled before class started each day with ten or fifteen teenagers drawn here perhaps for donuts but I quickly hid them. It seems I had lost a bet in fourth block and it was for donuts. I wonder why many times kids come to talk and interact. Often I am too much for some and they tend to back away. For others they get drawn in to hear of what it is I am ranting about or listen to a story or read a thought. Often it is kindred spirits looking for and searching as Kavanaugh so eloquently writes about in this passage. Perhaps we are all searchers looking for answers in the flow and ebb of life’s forces.
Walking in the early morning today was for me an awakening an energizing of sorts. As I watched wisps of smoke rise and circle about as I blew on embers of sweet grass and sage.
“…each of us must follow his own path… Wherever we are, whoever we are, there is always quiet water in the center of your soul.” James Kavanaugh
No two journeys are the same and no two people see and hear the world about them in a manner that is can be construed as similar, while somehow we seem to exist together. I read a friend’s concerns about the world and the potential for peace. While he is so adamantly viewing all that is in one direction I may in my naiveté look another and following a path I believe will lead to that where I feel I need to go. It was in 1961 or so President Eisenhower warned against the coming Industrial Capitalistic Corporate powers and their efforts to take control. Many thinkers, philosophers believe that this is what has happened in our own country.
“The least of learning is done in the classrooms.” Thomas Merton, US religious author, clergyman, & Trappist monk (1915 – 1968)
I use Thomas Merton often in my writing the spiritual mysticism has always caught my attention. Thomas Merton was an avid and practicing pacifist and antiwar leader. Merton was found dead in his room in 1968 in Bangkok, while on a spiritual and peace activist journey against the wars in Southeast Asia. I was looking at these words and began to realize in my own life it has been the pondering and searching that has led to learning. The pieces of what I experience in the classroom then bolstered by reflection and wonder build into learning as if the classroom were only a sampling of what is to be learned.
It is an appetizer of sorts.
I was involved in a group meeting for my doctorate several weekends past and many times the idea of becoming an avid learner a seeker of learning was mentioned. I recall a recent paper where as I wrote and researched and read others ideas my own grew significantly. As I think of current methodologies in schooling of the cramming of ideas into vacant space or so many teachers think. What if we borrow from a Sydney J. Harris concept and implant the grain of learning and nurture it as a pearl diver nurtures the oysters, and eventually that grain of sand will be a pearl. Often bigger and brighter than any the originator could have conceived of.
“The three hardest tasks in the world are neither physical feats nor intellectual achievements, but moral acts: to return love for hate, to include the excluded, and to say, ‘I was wrong.’” Sydney J. Harris
I am sitting and listening this morning to R. Carlos Nakai’s Sundance Season, a series of pieces that are directly tied to a sacred ceremony of his ancestry within the Ute tribe, the Sundance Ceremony. I recall a poster print of a Native American chief in my father’s room on the man’s chest a series of scars. These are from the Sundance Ceremony. Nakai’s music on this series of songs is based on and derived from the ceremony, one of pain, of courage, and ultimately of vision. As I look this morning we continually in our modern endeavors avoid such undertakings. Just by coincidence the Sundance Ceremony was banned by the US government till recently.
I was thinking of students who are content with the seventy grades and the “I am passing” or that famous modern quote of “whatever”. I can envision Daniel Boone as he traced through the mountains of Kentucky and North Carolina climbing along a ridge and saying “whatever” and heading home to the fireplace. There is an eerie piece on this CD that is playing it is played on a whistle made from the ulna bone of a golden eagle. Most people play one note on an eagle bone whistle, Nakai plays five and the haunting melody encompasses you.
“The truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering the more you suffer because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt.” Thomas Merton
When I read this it had so many implications in learning and teaching in life in general and in our world view. I will strive for peace in my endeavors and thoughts each day. I will strive to promote learning in my students and a love of learning. There is a point when a student switches the switch and learning becomes second nature. It is finding that switch that is the difficult aspect of teaching. I watched the Ron Clark story a few nights back night and it was finding that switch that made the difference and the fact he never stopped looking when he could have walked away.
“The least of learning is done in the classrooms.” Thomas Merton
I am sitting, thinking and wondering about each day, the weekend ahead and holiday ahead and so many people who are in need of our thoughts, prayers and understanding. Please keep all in harm’s way on your minds and in your hearts and to always give thanks.
My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)