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Wild Geese

Mary Oliver wrote this beautiful poem about sensing and perceiving Nature through direct experiences. Maurice Merleau Ponty wrote about the phenomenology of perception which is the about the way body and its senses act as gateways in perceiving the world. Our body is not an only a thing, it is an object that researches the world.

When we “the soft animal of your body” experience and sense Nature, we are in Nature. We have images for our imagination that fill our hearts and souls so fully. We belong in ways that we cannot as an observer standing outside. We are part of a community that includes all of Nature.

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

Happy Birthday, Albert! | Catherine M Johnson

Happy Birthday, Albert! | Catherine M Johnson.

I am a big Albert Einstein fan and it is his birthday today. I enjoy his eccentric behaviour and wild hair.

Several years ago, a student asked who the guy was in a poster in our classroom.

Without hesitating, I said, “My Dad!” A second student expressed skepticism, but I answered with “Look at him. He has wild hair, is eccentric, and tells great stories. Its my Dad!”.

A third student responded, “It’s Albert Einstein. His name is on the poster.”

For the rest of my teaching years, students, parents, and I were always careful when I began to say something about my Dad. I clarified whether it was my real dad or my figurative dad. The two had interesting quotes in common.

My real Dad would say, “When you stop beating your head against the wall it feels better.” I shared that with students when we talked about Einstein’s definition of insanity: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Dialogue

Dialogue.

The linked poem uses the word nature in an ambiguous and lovely way. Perhaps, we want to know our nature? Or, is it that we wait for nature to reveal itself more fully to us?

When we wait quietly and listen deeply, we hear the questions which are essential to dialogue. It is in the quiet we hear.

Lighthouses

Lighthouses.

Bill provides a quote from Anne Lamott. I began to read her work recently and found it humorous and inspiring.

When we have principles and are grounded, there is no need to run around trying to impress. We stand as beacons casting a light all around us inviting the world into us and joining the world as full participants.

Peace is With us Today

Peace is With us Today.

I had an Einstein poster in my classroom. My students referred to him as my dad, because I told a student, who did recognize him, he was my dad. When another student questioned me, I pointed out we had wild hair, facial foliage, and eccentric behaviors.

I enjoy Einstein, because his quotes reveal important insights. In this one, peace is something we offer and gain through mutual understanding.

I am using Jurgen Habermas, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Parker Palmer, etc. in my dissertation. I find important intersections in their work as they stress conversation, communication, and mutual understanding as integral to living peacefully in the world. It does not mean agreement, but suggests we can accept different ways of experiencing the world that allows for non-violent disagreement. We see what the Other holds true in their living as not very different from what we hold true.

Dear Universe

Dear Universe.

When you go to the linked article, you will see it is dated. However, it is not dated in that it carries a timeless message that we are able to share each day.

Kathy and I were blessed with our first grandchild in April, 2014. He is beginning to walk and his reach in the world is growing.

Similar to Mimi, new questions arise as we enter into a relationship like grandparents. We become elders and see the world through a new lens. When I spend time with our grandson, I do not feel rushed like I did at times when I was a parent with young children. I enjoy his laughter, when he plays with the little boy in the mirror, and as he snuggles and falls asleep in my arms.

I wish for a better world for all our grandchildren and children. One where we see each other in our human being and human becoming.

First Nations

First Nations.

In Canada, indigenous peoples are referred to as First Nations. Their art work is incredible with deep connections to Nature. The link is a collection of photographs displaying ‘graffiti’ on Winnipeg buildings. I use the word graffiti in a positive way here. It reflects the work of an artist and adds to the city scape rather than defacing property.

Winnipeg is a city with a deep First Nations’ history. Along with Métis and Inuit peoples, the province of Manitoba is home to people with indigenous roots.

When I was quite young, my grandmother, who lived in northern Manitoba, gave me a pair of beaded moccasins. An elder in the local community had made them from hand and I could still smell the smoke on them. I regret not having kept them over the years.

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