Bird Droppings February 7, 2022
Looking for a window can be a chore if you do not know where to look
A few nights back, when I woke up very early, our dog was barking to go out, and it was time for my wife to get up and get ready for work. It is hard to sleep in on days off when you fix breakfast and lunches. I walked out on my back porch only to catch a glimpse of the clouds moving, getting ready for the coming rain along the tree line; a drizzle was slipping in below the trees. It was just a coincidence that my dog wanted out exactly just before the rain came and dashed out of sight in the backyard. I view life as a series of interactions, interdependent upon the next and interwoven with the previous. Over the past few days to a week, I have bumped into six former students, all wanting to talk and ponder.
A good friend and I often discuss Carl Jung and synchronicity. Those interwoven pieces of life that intertwine all that is and seem to be so “connected” and keep us all in place. I have held to and use the puzzle idea frequently when discussing life with students and associates, and I borrow from Chief Seattle and throw out the idea of a web of life interconnecting the pieces as a glue holding all in place.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
As I meet people and try to understand where and why each one, I often find many still seeking to understand themselves, not knowing who or where they are to all else about them. This is not to say I am searching for who I am daily. While I walked the aisles of Kroger this morning, a young lady who graduated from the local high school a few years ago was stacking produce. I was picking up some fresh veggies for supper. I asked her how she was doing, and a conversation arose. She had worked full-time at Kroger since 2016, when she graduated, and was thinking about a new career. We talked for about twenty minutes, and she thanked me for the time. It was just what she needed.
“A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.” Albert Einstein
I talked with a group of students working on projects on learning how to teach several months back. They worked with a preschool class; each high school student worked with a four-year-old on words, colors, and all sorts of fun things. We were talking, and a former student of mine came to mind. It has been nearly forty-five years since I took a picture of this child. He was about five years old and severely autistic. He was nonverbal and spent much of his time simply staring ahead. On a spring day, he looked out the school’s window in an old house in Paoli, Pennsylvania, in 1970. I went out the back door with my camera, ran around the front to his window, and took a picture. He had his nose pressed up to the window staring out. I often wondered what he was seeing as he stared straight ahead. Over the years, as I look at that picture, I think he was trying to find a window. Even as he looked out the window, he was still searching for a window that he could see through.
“I have a great deal of company in the house, especially in the morning when nobody calls.” Henry David Thoreau
I watched him as he approached the window; it was not the view he wanted but the temperature, the coolness of the pane of glass against his cheek. I saw a window, and he felt a moist pane of cool glass. I was pulling out various books and ideas as I talked to this group of students who worked with little students. I shared author Shel Silverstein and a copy of The Giving Tree with CD, and William Stieg and CDB a whimsical word puzzle (CDB – see the bee), and as I looked and thought, many memories flooded back. Of working with children who probably still do not speak. Of searching for my windows throughout my life and occasionally only feeling the cool glass pane
“It’s not what you look at that matters; it’s what you see.” Henry David Thoreau
As I think back over my discussion with those teachers, we started talking about people we would like to meet. I wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau; I added Gandhi the other day as we spoke. Most of the students chose contemporaries, and most were celebrities. I thought over the years about how our views change. Youngsters trying to find a window can be a chore, not knowing where to look or maybe not even being tall enough to see out once there. As we get older, the rules change. We know where to look but have we drawn the blinds. We are tall enough to look out but do we want to? Or are we content to press our nose to the glass and feel the coolness, never even attempting to see what lies beyond? It is finally a clear morning, although it is cold as stars fill the sky and a slight wind blows through the pine needles. A new day, please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and your hearts and always give thanks namaste.
My family and friends, I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)