Sunday, May 17, 2015

Seeds of faith, seeds of fear

"There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places

and desecrated places."

Wendell Berry (from "How to be a Poet")

I planted a few seeds back in late winter, when I had faith that the light would return, though I did not believe it. The light has come back (again), and though I cannot believe it was ever dark, I fear its return.

Faith and fear drive my past and my future. But neither past nor future are sacred places. Only the real is sacred, and only now is real.

What once were seeds now sit in flats,  now growing, now knitting together the stuff of life. The stuff of life is the stuff of biology, the stuff in us, of us. Today I will plant them into the earth, aware again of the only world that matters.

In class we worship the unreal--the heiroglyphics of biochemistry that make class feel modern and scientific, the cycles of Krebs and Calvin. A not so old biology text book, about my age, sits on a lab bench, next to the pond water on the windowsill.  You will not find the structure of DNA in it.

We grow stuff in class. Each morning many of my students, half-child half-adult critters still learning what's real and what's not, head for their seedlings before sitting down. Watering has become a ritual. For a few moments, they are engaged in biology, before we start whatever rites required by the day's lesson.

I turn on the computer to start class, desecrating the space that holds life.

You cannot teach life in desecrated spaces.

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