Saturday, November 16, 2013

Clamming and the Common Core

Just got back from raking up a mess of clams for dinner. My hands are still a tad numb from the chilled backbay waters--winter is coming.

I think I think  a lot on the mudflat, but not sure it would count in the academic world. In the dying gray light of a slate gray November day, the sensuous overwhelms the cognitive. For all the noise we make about international standards, global economies, and other abstract nonsense, it gets down to a clam converting plankton to the meat I will eat tonight.

It gets down to plants stripping pieces of water and strapping them onto the air we breathe out.
It gets down to finding clean water, foraging for food, seeking shelter when we need it, and sharing joyful noises with each other.

Anything above and beyond that is abstract, and often more about power, about separation, about things that hurt us than about what every child needs.

Food. Water. Shelter. Love found in the company of each other.

I teach so that children are reminded of what they once knew-this world, the one beyond words and logos and abstractions,  is their world. Everything essential comes from the land, the sea, the air, fueled by the sun.

A child needs an acre or two of land far more than she needs to know some abstract set of standards. We are of dust and sunlight. No more, but even more important, no less.

Every person I have ever coaxed out onto a clamming expedition found joy on the flats.


Kate T said...

We need a bit of earth, the urge to understand it, and each other. In a few days my family will gather here at our home to make food, to harvest kale, to sing, dance, laugh, wash dishes, and make that joyful noise that I crave on quiet windy days like today.
Blessed are the open hearted, for they shall know love.
Blessed are the open minded, for they shall see the world and know it for what it is - vast, varied, and radiant.
Thank you, Michael.

doyle said...

Dear Kate,

And thank you, wise one--I get far more than I give.