Bird Droppings November 14, 2021
Perhaps I had a vision walking in the moonlight
As I walked out in the morning cold today, I kept thinking of a morning when a little more than a third of a full moon’s glow was lighting the area, giving me a vivid view of all around; I was taken back. While only just a tiny part of the moon, it was still a beautiful picture presented. There was a sense of light about as I stood looking around, thinking as I do every morning. Sitting here today, I will ponder my day ahead and the week coming even though I have several errands to run, including Wal-Mart for odds and ends. I read very early this morning on one of my friend’s pages and commented 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 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 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. Years ago at Loganville High School, my room would be filled before class started with ten or fifteen teenagers drawn there, perhaps for donuts, but I quickly hid them. It seems I lost a bet in the 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. Others get drawn in to hear what I am ranting about, listening to a story, or reading a thought. It is often kindred spirits looking for and searching, as Kavanaugh eloquently writes about in this passage. Perhaps we are searchers looking for answers in the flow and ebb of life’s forces.
Walking in the moonlight that morning was, for me, an awakening and energizing of sorts as I watched wisps of smoke rise and circle about as I blew on embers of sweetgrass 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 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 follow a path I believe will lead to where I feel I need to go. 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; 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 realized in my own life, and 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, wonder, and built 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 a few tears back, and the idea of becoming an avid learner a seeker of learning was often mentioned. I recall a paper where I wrote and researched and read others’ opinions. My own grew significantly. As I think of current methodologies in cramming ideas into vacant space, many teachers feel is appropriate. 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 more significant 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 to R. Carlos Nakai’s Sundance Season this morning, a series of pieces 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. On this series of songs, Nakai’s music is based on and derived from the ceremony, one of pain, of courage, and ultimately of vision. As I look this morning, we continue in our current endeavors to avoid such undertakings. Just by coincidence, the Sundance Ceremony was banned by the US government till recently.
I thought 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 playing 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
It had so many implications in learning and teaching in life in general and in our world view when I read this. 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 problematic 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 seasons ahead, and so many people who need our thoughts, prayers, and understanding. Please keep all in harm’s way on your minds and in your hearts and always give thanks.
My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)