An Cailleach Bhearra wandered around back in the 10th century in western Ireland,
eating "seaweed, salmon, and wild garlic" (my kind of woman), looking for firewood.
If the day was bright and sunny, beware--she had gathered plenty of wood and was set for many cold days ahead.
If the day was gray, she didn't bother, and she will make the days warm up again. Sound familiar?
The daffodils have broken through the earth. My words shrink as the sunlight grows.
Groundhog Day has always been a favorite of mine.
We are trapped by words.
***A few days ago I watched a crow at the ferry jetty caw caw caw at a gull sharing a light post. The gull did not respond. The crow then swooped down, picked up a piece of paper, then returned to its perch near the gull.
The crow carefully ripped up the paper, piece by piece, dropping each piece, one by one, watching each piece until it hit the ground, looking at the gull between pieces as if to say Hey!
When done, the crow cawed once more, and this time the gull squawked back. The crow, now seemingly satisfied, nodded, then flew to a trashcan and cawed at a few humanfolk, one (not me) who cawed back.
I have no idea what that was about, nor could I justify discussing it in my classroom. So I don't.
Curriculum stops at the point where humans are besides the point.
That makes sense if you live in a world of words. It makes less sense at the water's edge.
A child can parrot the Calvin cycle without knowing a thing about a seed, about food, about the billions, trillions of other organisms teeming around him.
If we keep ignoring things where humans are besides the point, we will become just that.
I teach biology, the study of life, in a culture that fails to recognize death. The children spray themselves with Axe, yet shy from the pond water and the mud brought in from outside.
I can hardly grade a child on her ability to keep a plant alive in a public building . I cannot ask a child to slaughter a calf in class. I can ask her to tell me how many NADH molecules are generated from one molecule of glucose during the Krebs cycle.
With the return of the sun comes the return of my sanity, when I feel comfortable letting go of the words again, learning (again) that what I thought was besides the point is the point.
Photos by us.