Friday, June 1, 2012

June, again

June again--I liked this one in 2010, and I still like it.


I want to crawl face down in the fields
and graze on the wild strawberries, my clothes
stained pink, even for seven years
if I must, if they exist. I want to lie out
on my back under the thousand stars and think
my way up among them, through them,
and a little distance past them, and attain
a moment of absolute ignorance,
if I can, if human mentality lets us.

Galway Kinnell, from The Seekonk Woods

I have never regretted any moment outside. As in under the sky.
Not one single moment.

I've been cozy, chilled, hot, wet, dry, stung, caressed by the breeze, and almost drowned in the sea. I've feasted on wild berries, feared wild beasts. I've watched ants for hours, and the moon forever.

I've seen life take life, and I've taken lives. I've heard the last yelps. I've eaten critters that squirmed in my hands. I watched a lightning bug flicker in desperation as a spider wrapped her silk around and around and around.

Tonight the honeysuckle blossoms steal words from my cortex, and I welcome the thieves.

June lasts forever when it comes, and is impossible to remember when it's gone. No words are needed in June. None. Life is as abundant as the light. I cannot help myself--I worship the sun now, so tangible on my skin, so obviously the giver, as it settles in the north for a spell.

Tonight somewhere in my town a child is doing homework on an early June dusk. Probably safer that way. Can't have children shirk responsibilities. Keep them indoors. They must stay focused!

Say you're a biology teacher, and, say, you know a lot more biology lies outside the textbook than in it. You're older now, with many more Junes past than any yet to be (graciously) received. What does a 15 year old child need to know? What do any of us need to know?

Ambition is well-rewarded in our culture. Delayed gratification is a virtue. If you want to be rich or powerful, chances are pretty good you won't die in the same town that welcomed your birth.

There's also a good chance you won't know where the local wild mulberries lie ripe for the picking, or where clams can be raked.

In June, my motives are clear--teach the children to see the world under their noses. The world offers riches beyond a wealthy family's dreams, but you need to go outside.

Kids know this until we teach them to forget. Most classes fit well in a classroom--a good biology class tends to ooze outwards.


William Chamberlain said...

I'm not much of an outside guy myself, but I totally get your post. Students need the opportunity to redefine success. They need to be given experiences that help them see what the world has to offer beyond the typical success of schooliness.

Malcolm said...

if i ever get to bloomfield, i would like to drink one of your...i mean buy you a beer. the offer is also reciprocal..come to vancouver and i buy...i mean you buy...

either teach the way i believe...other than the damned exams.


Malcolm said...

...i meant i hate the damned standardised exams as well. language centre not working...

John T. Spencer said...

"There's also a good chance you won't know where the local wild mulberries lie ripe for the picking, or where clams can be raked."


I just went camping with my family. No Klout scores. No blog comments. None of that. Just a chance to hang out with people I love.

I was going to put together a new "sketchy video" for a presentation I will be doing a week from tomorrow. I've been thinking about the keynote far more than I should.

A few days in the woods and I'm abandoning the video. I'm going to wash the car and mow the yard and take the kids to the park tomorrow.

Jeffrey Michals-Brown said...

A little off topic--or maybe on one of your consistent topics--I finally watched a little documentary I'd been saving: Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a land ethic for our time. (My copy of A Sand County Almanac is getting dog-eared.) The documentary reminded me that Leopold's acreage among the sand hills on the Wisconsin River began as ruined farm land, and he bought it because, after writing and teaching about ecosystem restoration for a long time, he decided he needed do this up close and with his own hands. He and his family planted thousands of pines over the years, but the sand hill cranes returned to his marsh only many years after his death. The theme here is experience as local, up-close, and with dirty hands. Puts you in good company, I think.

Jeffrey Michals-Brown said...

Here, in a nutshell: “Is education possibly a process of trading awareness for things of lesser worth?” ― Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

doyle said...

Dear William,

I love the word "schooliness"--I learned it from Clay Burell, whose words I enjoy. I think we need to re-define what success means.

Dear Malcolm,

Hey, we can swap--I can brew ale, but selling it is a no-no here in Jersey.

Dear John,

You keep spending time outdoors, and your career as an internationally known education consultant may be derailed. The horror!. =)

Dear Jeffrey,

Mr. Leopold was a wise man. I need to find "Green Fire."

What a fantastic quote--I may put it up on my bulletin board.