Thinking, sitting, pondering and recovering

Bird Droppings June 9, 2011
Thinking, sitting, pondering and recovering

I drove to north Georgia on Sunday and Tuesday and have been babysitting Charlie my grand daughter in between. I enjoy the drive up into the mountains always going part of the way on back roads. As I was sitting around yesterday evening my oldest called from the Foxfire course with a question about his group’s project. They were trying to tie science into a restoration of a historical graveyard. I have several stops I traditionally make on my way to Macon and Warner Robins Georgia one is a nursery and the other the world’s best barbecue, bar none. However I am addressing the nursery. It is a nursery specializing in native plants, shrubs and tress and I mentioned to my son why not make this historic graveyard also a sanctuary for plants and animals. By selecting native plants and reviewing blooming dates you could almost have flowers year round.
I got to run quite a few errands before I head back in the morning and get a few things written and produced to get reviewed Friday and Saturday. I got thinking back nearly two years to my oral comprehensive exams. Much of the discussion with my professors was positive and actually enjoyable and we all have a similar view of education. What made me think of that exam was a question that I was asked linking Elliot Eisner to John Dewey. Both men saw art as a function of education. We can argue any aspects of education in the US but interestingly enough test scores have been flat for some time. Only ones who tend to see different are ones making money off of education. Book publishers, Testing companies, and all of the consultants who are experts in the field, Georgia recently went with an out of state person in a contract to solve an in state issue. I found the biography of the contracted person very interesting. While a prolific author and professor of administration and an administrator in his own right he has only three years of teaching experience in public schools. THIs back and forth between the right and left wings of education has been heavy on my mind in recent days. I recall not too many months back that I am far too often on the extreme left of the balance beam and being loud and often obnoxious can sway the beam.
In the past few days I found my success and or lack of success was being equated on following specific curriculum versus how well the students were doing in school. I am in an odd sort of teaching role being in a resource room all day. Never more than seven students as often that seven includes some that are EBD and require more attention.
As we look at how to evaluate a teacher I go back a year or two to an administrator who had been evaluating me all year and only saw education in black and white. You find out very quickly that special education is anything but and has numerous shades of gray and often is multi-color as well. All of my evaluations were good and I never thought there was an issue till class assignments for the next year and I was out of my traditional resource and in a co-teaching setting. I came to find it was based on curriculum not success of children. As I compiled data on what students had done with me and in other teacher’s rooms all of my classes were in the top in each category but for a point or two in some where I was second out of four teachers. Some where in this I was told it is not about student success but strictly about the curriculum.
In today’s Atlanta paper two more administrators in a neighboring county are facing criminal charges for altering standardized test scores. In the process of scoring they found numerous erasers and corrections. These were disproportionate to state and normal testing corrections. Also the school questioned raised their scores nearly fifty points higher than average improvement. These administrators were faced with termination as their schools were testing lower than required for the fourth year. No child is left behind is what we are told is the name of the bill that mandates all of this testing and curriculum. I use the word curriculum very loosely.
In education we are in a vacuum as to what is success in school. Is it truly test scores on standardized tests that here in Georgia have been controversial from day one? I remember a year or two back on a first administration of the new math test there were literally no passing grades till it was curved. How can a test over a given subject or curriculum be so hard that no one passes. Somewhere someone either made a test from a different book or never really looked at the book they were too be testing.
As I talk with and gather information on my dissertation I have had the pleasure to communicate with students who were in a program some up to nearly forty five years ago. I found it interesting that they still had fond memories and remembrances of those classes. They were still using that knowledge today. Somewhat different than cramming for a standardized test “teaching to the test” that teachers hate and are the norm in so many schools. In my reading most recently many of the great educators talked about life long learning that this is what we should be teaching. Sadly many teachers have gotten away from this to specific material to get good grades on the test.
It was refreshing in thinking back to my exam to be sitting with other educators who shared my ideas of learning and education and they would be on my dissertation committee as well. I may have gotten carried away in my ranting today but how we each measure success is crucial to who we are as humans.

“You only have to be a little bit better than most in what you do. Just a little smarter, just a little steadier, just a little more energetic, or whatever other prime quality is demanded in your field. If successes admitted this, they would not have cause to feel so conceited; and if the aspirants recognized this, they would not have cause to feel so left behind at the starting line.” Sydney J. Harris

“Success is just a little more effort,” from his column Strictly Speaking, it is not that difficult to be a little better then most but we often see that as too much effort and too much work.

“The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration.” Pearl S. Buck

We need others to succeed to move ahead to provide support for us as we journey. Succeeding is often an effort of a group as well as a person in an endeavor. I tend to find myself alone often out of choice. Sort of my monasticism coming out I will say. But for me alone time provides reflection time on what has been happening during a given day.

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have heard this quote so many times at commencement speeches in lectures on success by motivational speakers and yet each time a little more of it sinks in. Perhaps Emerson was ahead of his time as I read his words the last line becomes so significant success is having made another’s life easier a very powerful statement in our selfish society it is not that we have done that following a prescribed method.

“It is only as we develop others that we permanently succeed.” Harvey S. Firestone

Success is how we leave others as we walk away, the difference we make the level at which we make change in the environment around and in some instances our ability to not make change and still accomplish something.

“My definition of success is total self acceptance. We can obtain all of the material possessions we desire quite easily, however, attempting to change our deepest thoughts and learning to love ourselves is a monumental challenge. We may achieve success in our business lives but it never quite means as much if we do not feel good inside. Once we feel good about ourselves inside we can genuinely lend ourselves to others.” Franklin Covey

Seeing ourselves clearly honestly and learning to like, to even love ourselves is crucial to truly succeeding. Success is about us and how we affect the world and others. Success can be a minute difference we make in what is happening around us. Success can be a simple elevation of a friend or attainment of a goal. Success is effort yet success can be attained with the heart as well as the body.

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” Albert Schweitzer

As I was reading quotes and articles today to write this morning it was interesting how success was defined by various people. In many situations many wealthy people defined success in terms of their wealth. Others looked at the word as a gauge of human involvement. There are numerous different approaches and comparisons were available as I looked. Was it accomplishment, outcome, achievement or something else were all listed as definitive words for success as I read and think back to two of the quotes I used today.
Dr. Schweitzer spoke of happiness as the key. This man was a musician extraordinaire he played in concert halls all over Europe and used those funds to run a hospital in Africa in the 1930’s till his death many years later. His success in life was his practice of medicine where he was needed. Emerson as he indicates success is that difference you make in another’s life. As I look closer at myself I truly believe success is a word needing others to define it is about your impact and difference you make but I can not help but feel successful when contacted by a parent that their child has passed all of his classes for the first time in his or her life or even better for me that their child was not sent home from school for the first time in eleven years. That makes me feel successful. I have found success is not measured as much in volume as in quality. Quality defined by Phillip Crosby is exceeding the expectations of the customer. To draw a simple parallel success is exceeding an others expectations. Please keep all in harms way in your thoughts.
namaste
bird

Pondering on mothers day about faith

Bird Droppings May 8, 2011
Pondering on mothers day about faith

For so many a Sunday morning brings dressing up and heading to a place of worship. Worship for most is a community event a gathering of like believers who sit and go through ritualistic undertakings in a prescribed manner and at the prescribed time head home or to a restaurant for lunch and then right back to their lives. My question is always does this entail faith or simply tradition and ritual. A routine followed from childhood and continued into adulthood and passed on to offspring similar to tool making and other basic functions. Perhaps this is where I draw a differentiation between faith and religion. For me religion is the traditions and rituals and then faith is something else.

“Faith has to do with things that are not seen, and hope with things that are not in hand.” Saint Thomas Aquinas

“In faith and hope the world will disagree, but all mankind’s concern is charity.” Alexander the Great

Within man there is a driving force, a desire to understand, a need to know and perhaps be known. Often we hope, we believe, so that we can share. Early writers chose a word to define this idea of sharing. In Greek several words were used to define what mankind considered love, Eros, Philos and Agape. Eros is that sexual passionate love, Philos that love that can be deemed brotherly love, and Agape. Agape in 1613 was defined as the word charity by translators for King James. As I was researching earlier I found Alexander the Great used charity, perhaps in a similar fashion.

“Faith is a continuation of reason.” William Adams

“Faith is a higher faculty than reason.” Henry Christopher Bailey

“I believe though I do not comprehend, and I hold by faith what I cannot grasp with the mind.” St. Bernard

I have introduce the word love into my discussion of faith as well as so often it intertwines between the operations and delineations of what is defined by many as faith. A simple word faith, much of the world’s history has evolved around our understanding of this word and our acceptance or rejection of various aspects of that word.

“I feel no need for any other faith than my faith in the kindness of human beings. I am so absorbed in the wonder of earth and the life upon it that I cannot think of heaven and angels.” Pearl S. Buck

“To us also, through every star, through every blade of grass, is not God made visible if we will open our minds and our eyes.” Thomas Carlyle

Several years ago I researched the word faith in an education class, and found that Dr. James Fowler of Emory University wrote a book on the development of faith. In his book he was comparing faith in stages much as Erickson and Piaget looked at children’s development.

“Do you know how to digest your food? Do you know how to fill your lungs with air? Do you know how to establish, regulate and direct the metabolism of your body — the assimilation of foodstuff so that it builds muscles, bones and flesh? No, you don’t know how consciously, but there is a wisdom within you that does know.” Donald Curtis

“To know what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty… this knowledge; this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.” Albert Einstein

As I researched the word and its applications to people and especially to children I found an interesting correlation and parallel. The word trust and faith are synonymous.

“Our faith comes in moments… yet there is a depth in those brief moments which constrains us to ascribe more reality to them than to all other experiences.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“A faith to live by, a self to live with, and a purpose to live for.” Bob Harrington

“All things are inconstant except the faith in the soul, which changes all things and fills their inconstancy with light, but though I seem to be driven out of my country as a misbeliever I have found no man yet with a faith like mine.” James Joyce

Could it be that faith is an evolutionary thing, it grows, alters, changes and develops much as visual acuity changes and mental cognitive aspects of our nature change. As I looked deeper and saw correlations to the word trust, I could see trust in children evolve and grow and simultaneously faith.

“Faith is the highest passion in a human being. Many in every generation may not come that far, but none comes further.” Soren Kierkegaard

“That’s the thing about faith. If you don’t have it you can’t understand it. And if you do, no explanation is necessary” Major Kira Nerys

There is a dark side as I watch children who have little trust in their lives for what ever reason. It is here we see that vacuum, a hollow void a space where faith is vacant. If faith and trust is void then as so many great thinkers have said hope is lost and charity is non existent. I watch students who have little trust in anything and for them only self matters. Over the years I have seen philosophy and theology often interconnect at times one trying to explain the other.

“Life is a battle between faith and reason in which each feeds upon the other, drawing sustenance from it and destroying it.” Reinhold Niebuhr

“There are many things that are essential to arriving at true peace of mind, and one of the most important is faith, which cannot be acquired without prayer.” John Wooden

Two great men in their respective fields Niebuhr a theologian and Wooden one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time with a similar idea. Going at life and in my own case in teaching it is finding a way to build trust in children who have none. Many times more often than not when trust can be developed then so can faith. Hope soon follows, and charity sort of finds it way along. Many years ago I watched a film one of my favorites, Billy Jack. In one scene a young Native American offers a slip of paper to a young lady in the film containing a passage he attributes to St. Francis of Assisi.

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.” Reinhold Niebuhr

Niebuhr used this statement in a much longer prayer often referred to as the serenity prayer during a sermon in the late 1950’s. As I worked through literature and my own thoughts piecing together bits and shards, I found there was a need within people for faith, and for trust. In reality it is not much different than so many other areas of human development. The capacity and direction of that faith and trust may vary greatly in traditions and in perceptions but it is there. Walking out into the mornings often reminds me, as I look upon a clear sky a moon tilted slightly smiling, stars and a few clouds creating an image of calm. We each piece together our own life’s puzzle one piece at a time often never seeing the completed version only having faith that it is there, somewhere. Please as the week draws to an end, keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts and a most happiest of mothers days.
namaste
bird

Being Alone

Bird Droppings April 25, 2011
Being alone

Traditionally we as a family have had an Easter egg hunt for the children of the family now for over thirty years. While I have my moments of enjoying community time I am also very much an monastic individual seeking time alone which for me is often the early hours of the day prior to most even considering rising from their night of sleep. I am uninterrupted save for taking our dog out and the occasionally storm knocking out power limiting my writing and reading time. This morning I went back in my collected thoughts and found an old blog I had saved written by a friend. I read a blog first in MySpace many years ago written by a person who is as hard nails as they say but as I read the essay and reviewed numerous photos from New York streets attached to the writing a mention of loneliness came out. I wrote back that being alone and lonely were two different things. Many times I seek to be alone, and all it takes of course is a quick step inside and I am back with my family. But many there are times I seek solitude. I joke about my monasticism and sitting out in the mornings meditating, thinking, wondering and of course pondering about all that go on in the world. Contrary to this for me loneliness is a state of mind, one of our own being. It is so much more than simply being alone since we chose to be alone and loneliness is not always by choice.

“I hear the ticking of the clock – I’m lying here the room’s pitch dark – I wonder where you are tonight – No answer on the telephone – And the night goes by so very slow – Oh I hope that it won’t end though Alone” lyrics from Alone, Heart, Bad Animals album, 1987

I think by nature we are gregarious creatures we need others about us, around us and near us for us in order to be comfortable. I use the term from my sheep herding days of the herding instinct, we need to be in a crowd. It is not for defense as with sheep although maybe that is it when in a crowd we cannot be hurt, there is safety just like the sheep or small fish in a shoal bunching up some will die and be eaten but most will survive. In Canada, a musk oxen herd when attacked by wolves even though wolves can only take young and weak animals the stronger oxen circle the weaker and face the attackers with their horns. It is a good defense system evolved over tens of thousands of years. Sometimes we do this but more often than not the weaker of us gets pushed to the outside and swallowed by the attacking wolves of mankind.

“All men’s misfortunes spring from their hatred of being alone.” Jean De La Bruyere

When I listen to guys and girls in high school who cannot stand to be without a boyfriend or girlfriend it is about being alone. It is deep down a need, it is not love it is fear of being alone. So many of these kids are from split homes and not having someone is hard.

“No one would choose a friendless existence on condition of having all the other things in the world.” Aristotle

The great thinker may have hit the nail on the head to have everything is nothing without friends.

“The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration.” Pearl S. Buck

I was thinking back to some earlier emails and how heart is so important. How we would wither without another to respond to. I borrow again from one of the most poignant emails in awhile a heartfelt response from a friend a career retired Marine and now with the NSC.

“One final thought off topic. I have been in the service of my country as a Marine and intelligence agent. I have always believed that my service in some small way protected our nation against those who would do us harm. I have served with many fine people over my career. Still when I reflect on those I admire the most I would have to point to the three of my friends and others like them in the world. They continue to believe love can change the world and make it a better place. I pray every night that will someday be the case.”

I edited out names as they do not mean much to those who do not know the people and those of us who know them have read and experienced the heartfelt love.
I wondered when I added this thought as I write about being alone. This fellow lost his wife not too long ago tragically. I will not go into too much detail but he was alone for a period of time. Not too long ago he found a soul mate and they married and started a new life on a horse farm I am envious. I for one have been impressed as the love between these two people shows every email every word and as I reread this passage above peace my dear friend.

“What should young people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.” Kurt Vonnegut

It is about building community and this is a very powerful thought from a great writer and thinker. Maybe we spend too much time trying to find relationships and forget community. When I first moved to Georgia I was introduced to a Greek word koinonia defined by dictionary.com as “a Christian fellowship or communion with God or with fellow Christians; said in particular of the early Christian community”. As I read and tried to understand this word I found material written by Clarence Jordan and that led to finding out about the Koinonia Farm in Americus Georgia.

“’Koinonia is an intentional Christian community founded by two couples, Clarence and Florence Jordan and Martin and Mabel England in 1942 as a “demonstration plot for the Kingdom of God.’ For them, this meant a community of believers sharing life and following the example of the first Christian communities as described in the Acts of the Apostles, even amidst the poverty and racism of the rural South.’ ‘Based on this radical call to discipleship, Koinonia’s very presence confronted racism, militarism and materialism with its commitment to: 1.Treat all human beings with dignity and justice 2. Choose love over violence. 3. Share all possessions and live simply. 4. Be stewards of the land and its natural resources.’” http://www.koinoniapartners.org/

I wonder what the world would be like if we all could follow these rules there is no religion in the four guidelines just humanities response to humanity. It is a community in a powerful way.

“Language has created the word loneliness to express the pain of being alone, and the word solitude to express the glory of being alone.” Paul Tillich

The great theologian Tillich shows the paradox I started with. A friend who is alone and seeping towards loneliness yet cherishes her solitude as well for in it is her creativity and imagination.

“People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges” Joseph F. Newton

As I read this statement by Newton it is so true solitude is by choice and loneliness in effect is as well you build walls of defense or of offense to ward off people getting too close or seeing who you really are. It is interesting as I think deeper on this pondering as I say. Here it is a new week a new morning and new droppings on its way. I spent much of the weekend working on my readings and writing for graduate school and working on my herb garden as weather was excellent this weekend. In closing as I have for nearly twelve years now, please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts
namaste
bird

Hope

Bird Droppings April 7, 2011
Hope

“Man can live for about forty days without food, and about three days without water, about eight minutes without air … but only for one second without hope.” Hal Lindsey

As I am lazy today and did not venture forth very early other than to take our trusted Westie out for a quick stroll I would say perhaps this is an exaggeration that man can last only one second without hope. Over the years I have worked with and counseled many and some were institutionalized for others safety as well as their own. Thinking back to discussion nearly forty years ago with inmates at Central State Hospital as I sat across the room from them doing counseling sessions hope was a word that never came up. So as I sit here with the new day’s sun streaming through the kitchen window and think about it when we lose hope so often there is nothing left to live for.

“If one truly has lost hope, one would not be on hand to say so.” Eric Bentley

We are head into a spring weekend in Georgia the weather is supposed to be fabulous all weekend. After that we start another week and for myself back to work after a spring break week off. It is an interesting feeling mixed emotions with a desire to get back to it and a desire to go lay back down and close my eyes for a few more hours sort of all at the same time. I have been spoiled being bale to nap and lay back down and really no schedule for the past week although I do have a laundry list of items to complete today from my wife. But as I sit thinking and wondering on this beautiful morning, a memory yesterday made me think about the word hope.

“To eat bread without hope is still slowly to starve to death.” Pearl S. Buck

My father now passed away was well into his eighties and had been periodically having urinary infections which cause his blood sugar to drop. When he was bottoming out on his sugar he would become very morose. As I talked with him on one of those days on one hand he was asking about our future my sons, my wife and I. But on the other hand how he was near the end of his time and he would refuse to eat and would only take a few sips of orange juice trying to raise his sugar.
While I was there a call came in from the visiting nurse and the recommendation was made to give him a few teaspoons of honey. My mother went in and told him she had some medicine for him and several teaspoons of honey later his sugar levels were back and he was wanting to change the channel on the TV. I thought back to a Disney movie and song “A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down” from Mary Poppins.

“Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.” Lin Yutang

In an old National Geographic which is my light reading anymore there were several excellent stories of Africa, one in particular that caught my attention. The article was focusing on the pygmies trying to hold on in their forest home as encroachment was coming. It was interestingly enough that a civil war while hard on the pygmies was keeping illegal logging out which too was dangerous but destroyed their habitat. The original inhabitants of the Iturbi Forest of Zaire are the Bambuti Pygmies. Several tribes lived through the forest area in Zaire and lived similar lives being migratory they moved following the game and as hunters living in little more than huts built from bent branches and large leaves.
The Pygmies are fearless hunters tackling even elephants with their poison arrows which do put a scare into other larger tribes who pass through their lands. It was often a right of manhood to kill an elephant for the tribe. But as I read one or two paragraphs something caught my attention it was their love of honey. The entire tribe would stop everything when a honey tree was found. They would gorge on honey often to a point of a stupor. The season of the year also would determine the type of honey, light, medium or dark depending on the flowers being visited by the bees. As I thought about honey it literally doesn’t spoil often staying on a shelf for years.

“Honey is a source of simple carbohydrates. Its composition on average is 17.1 percent water, 82.4 percent total carbohydrate and 0.5 percent proteins, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. The average carbohydrate content is mainly fructose (38.5 percent) and glucose (31percent). The remaining 12.9 percent of carbohydrates is made up of maltose, sucrose and other sugars.” National Honey Board

My research pointed to modern uses of looking at antimicrobial properties of honey and uses as a wound dressing and for weightlifters as a source of quick energy. I was thankful for a rise in blood sugar and a rekindling of hope that day nearly four years ago with my father.

“Hope is the only bee that makes honey without flowers.” Robert Ingersoll

Getting all my materials ready and together to head to the school to feed critters and do a bit of report writing. Maybe I should grab a spoonful of honey who knows what the day brings although I do use daily agave nectar in my various tea concoctions I mix up. There will be many new stories and events to catch up on next week with my students and fellow teachers. A few more weeks of school and it will be summer again, and for me back to school and try and finish up a new degree and my dissertation. Earlier as I went out the morning was still no breeze at all and the new leaves are helping to muffle neighborhood sounds and soon the crickets and frogs will be back and my morning choir and orchestra will be serenading me each morning. It will only take a few more degrees of warmth. I watched as a wisp of smoke circled about with no breeze it hung in the air moving as I moved and soon wandered off into the trees. As we go into these times so many issues coming to the front eventually we are responsible and it is up to us to vote and or not vote for the voices we deem necessary to carry out our goals.

“Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.” Christopher Reeve

There is hope and we can be the catalyst so please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.
namaste
bird

Hope is more than a word it is a state of being

Bird Droppings February 22, 2011
Hope is more than a word it is a state of being

“Man can live for about forty days without food, and about three days without water, about eight minutes without air … but only for one second without hope.” Hal Lindsey

It was quite nice though waking up to acid reflux is not as I walked outside to a three quarters moon and clouds moving rapidly through the sky creating a lacey veneer for the moon. I need to be a bit more careful with my fish tacos mix next time as indigestion in the middle of the night does not make for a restful sleep. I posted this quote from Hal Lindsey about one thirty this morning on facebook and already had a comment or two. I thought I was the only person in the world who was up at this kind of hour. As I look at the quote perhaps this is an exaggeration only one second without hope but as I thought about it when we lose hope so often there is nothing left to live for.

“If one truly has lost hope, one would not be on hand to say so.” Eric Bentley

We start back into school with only four weeks till another break for spring seems like we have only been in school a few days this year. It is an interesting feeling I have a great desire to get back to work and a desire to go lay back down and close my eyes for a few more hours sort of a paradox this morning. I have been spoiled being able to nap and lay back down and really no schedule for the past week other than holding my grand daughter every chance I get. But as I sit thinking and wondering today I go to an experience a few years ago that made me think about the word hope.

“To eat bread without hope is still slowly to starve to death.” Pearl S. Buck

My father was well into his eighties had been periodically having urinary infections which caused his blood sugar to drop. When he was bottoming out on his sugar he becomes very morose. As I talked with him nearly four years ago on one hand he was asking about our future, my sons, my wife and or how I was doing and on the other hand how he was near the end of his time. He was refusing to eat and would only take a few sips of orange juice my mother trying to raise his sugar levels. A call came in from the visiting nurse and the recommendation was made to give him a few teaspoons of honey. My mother went in and told him she had some medicine for him and several teaspoons of honey later his sugar levels were back and he wanted to change the channel on the TV to a John Wayne movie. I thought back to a Disney movie and song “A spoonful of sugar/honey makes the medicine go down.”

“Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.” Lin Yutang

In a previous month’s National Geographic several excellent stories of Africa one in particular that caught my attention. The article was focusing on the pygmies trying to hold on in their forest home as encroachment was coming. Interestingly enough civil war while hard on the pygmies was keeping illegal logging out. It was too dangerous for the loggers between poison arrows and machine gun fire to cut trees. The original inhabitants of the Ituri Forest of Zaire are the Bambuti Pygmies. Several tribes lived through the forest area in Zaire and lived similar lives to what they had been for thousands of years. There were migratory, moving about following game and primarily hunters living in little more than huts built from bent branches and large leaves. The Bambuti are fearless hunters tackling even elephants with their poison arrows. In some family groups it was a right of manhood to kill an elephant. However as I read one or two paragraphs caught my attention. It was about honey. The entire tribe would stop everything when a honey tree was found. They would gorge on honey often to a point of a stupor. The season of the year also would determine the type of honey be it light, medium or dark depending on the flowers being visited by the bees. As I thought about it honey literally doesn’t spoil often staying on a shelf for years without refrigeration.

“Honey is a source of simple carbohydrates. Its composition on average is 17.1 percent water, 82.4 percent total carbohydrate and 0.5 percent proteins, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. The average carbohydrate content is mainly fructose (38.5 percent) and glucose (31percent). The remaining 12.9 percent of carbohydrates is made up of maltose, sucrose and other sugars.” National Honey Board

My simple research pointed to modern uses of looking at the antimicrobial properties of honey and uses as a wound dressing and for weightlifters as a source of quick energy. I was very thankful back a few years for a rise in blood sugar and a rekindling of hope.

“Hope is the only bee that makes honey without flowers.” Robert Ingersoll

As I am getting all my materials ready and together to head to school and maybe I should grab a spoonful of honey who knows what the day may bring. There are many new stories and events to catch up on as I talk to students. A few more weeks of school and it will be spring break another week off again. For me it is also back to school and trying to finish up a my doctorate. It is nice being that my classes are finished sand all I have is writing my dissertation. Earlier as I went out the morning was it was still no breeze at all yet above me the clouds were zipping by. Soon new leaves will be helping to muffle neighborhood sounds and soon the crickets and frogs will be back on a regular basis and my morning choir and orchestra will be serenading me each day. A few more degrees warmer is all it needs. I watched as a wisp of smoke from some sage and sweet grass circle about with no breeze it hung in the air moving as I moved and soon wandered off into the trees. As we go into these times so many issues coming to the front almost minute by minute eventually we are responsible and it is up to us to vote and or not vote when elections arrive again.

“Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.” Christopher Reeve

I will leave with this thought there is hope and we can be the catalyst so as always please keep all in harms way on your mind and in your hearts.
namaste
bird