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Travelling at Home

Wendell Berry is one of my favourite writers. He writes fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. There is an honesty and sparseness in his writing that speaks to me deeply. He bares his soul in ways that poets should. Even in the country we know by heart it is hard to go the same way twice. It is more likely impossible, but I would give Mr. Berry the benefit of the doubt and believe that is likely what he meant as he suggests we attempt to make intent with what happens by accident.

I chose the forming of the person, more specifically the teacher, as a central theme in my dissertation. Actually, the theme chose me. It was unintentional and strictly by accident. As I read and write, I find myself drawn to the topic and new thinking emerging where any word can be the bud of new direction.

Judith Butler suggests becoming is the vehicle forming each particular identity and subjectivity against a cultural backdrop which is always changing itself. Even when we name something, it is traversing the land. We can never plan our becoming even in a country we think we know by heart.

Even in a country you know by heart
it’s hard to go the same way twice.
The life of the going changes.
The chances change and make it a new way.
Any tree or stone or bird
can be the bud of a new direction. The
natural correction is to make intent
of accident. To get back before dark
is the art of going.


About ivonprefontaine

I completed a PhD at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. Previously, I taught for 20 years and taught for 15 years in a wonderful hybrid school. My dissertation topic and research were how certain teachers experience becoming who teachers. In teaching and leanring, I am a boundary-crosser who understands moving ahead is a leap of faith. Teaching is a calling and vocation to express who I am as a person. Currently, I am waiting and listening to what calls me next. I am an educator, phenomenologist, scholar, boundary-crosser, published poet, author, parent, grandparent, and spouse.

12 responses »

  1. I really enjoyed the post and the insight into your chosen path even if it was accidental so to speak. 🙂 The poem resonates deeply and having traveled the country from coast to coast many times over the years I can say it has changed drastically especially the I 80 corridor with the addition of Walmart stores along it’s exits. No more are the mom and pop stores and gas stations I used to plan my trips by… Great post Ivon 🙂 Happy 4th to you and yours!

  2. This is truly enjoyable, valuable and insight. I must compliment you. Thank you for sharing!!

  3. Thank you for waking up on the fourth, this drew me in, I had to read and reread, formulate, postulate and then wonder.

    Unintentional, but make intent out of accident.
    I visualize a flowing river as the path of life, every bend brings the unknown , brings something new, no matter where the mind remains.

    Each cup of water we draw is different, each situation is never quite the same.
    Identity can be our anchor also

  4. The sentiment that “any word can be the bud of new direction” spoke to me. We just need to be aware of the words that cross our path to see those valuable buds.

  5. Thanks. Pleased to have found your thoughtful blog. Lots to investigate. Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox (plugged in now).

  6. The ancient Greek word for Nature means becoming.


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