Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Facebook, Thanksgiving, atheism, and me

An old friend of mine, from well over 4 decades ago, pondered what athiests are thankful for on Thanksgiving.

Here is my response.
I'm not an atheist. I'm not not an atheist. I do have faith that I am a part of this matter/energy thing, whatever you want to call this.
I celebrate Thanksgiving. I thank the sun, the earth, the air, the water, and the beast we have slaughtered (by someone I also thank) to share.
I thank the universe/Godhead/matter-energy/whatever for grace.
I thank the quahogs on the mudflat, the mosquitoes that feed the bats, the dolphins, the moon, the occasional flash of a meteor against the sky.
I thank the bacteria that define me and you, the fungi busy digesting the stuff for which we have no use, and Seamus Heaney and Galway Kinnell for reminding me of these things.
I thank my mom for teaching me to dance always and whenever and my father for teaching me how to defend things worth defending.
And I thank you, Lee, for giving me this opportunity to thank others, for your gracious heart that allows for folks as dissident as me in your universe, and for all the small but deep chats we had when we were so much, oh so much, younger.

Friday, November 6, 2015

My kids are more confused than ever....

The theme for my freshmen this year is confusion--I've already played Feynman's video below several times, and will continue to play it. We even have a giant paper banana now, usually tacked to the wall when not taking trips through the school.

 Our error-o-meter continues to run up points--at this point the kids pretty much decide what kinds of errors, ideas, questions, or thoughts earn points.

And, blessed be, the kids are now asking better questions than I am, and, at times, tackling them with me just gawking as a spectator.

Just don't tell them to list the parts of a cell from memory--I won't, and they know I won't. If you want to have a chat about how membranes work, though, get ready to pull up a chair and listen. I never expected my lambs would truly be interested in how membranes work.

I never trusted them enough before to let the universe do the work for me....

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Day of the Dead, again

I have spent, in the basest sense of that word, hours
of my God-given life working on a document required of teachers here in Jersey.
That I do these things speaks to a cultural insanity, and mine as well.

And here it is a year later, and I'm doing it again.

Do ghosts "exist"?

I've lived  long enough to know that they don't.
I've lived long enough to know that they do.

That odd, inexplicable events happen, and happen daily, is evident to anyone paying attention. The shame is that so few of us are paying attention to the natural world, we miss the rhythms and the mysteries that  envelop our modern minds every moment.

Today is All Saints Day, to celebrate the sanctified among us, as though following some moral order could save us from the coming dark, a world in which wasp larvae eat hornworms alive, from the inside out, and humans die monstrous deaths lying in ICUs with multiple tubes pierced into the body, hoping that like St. Sebastian, we will miraculously recover.

If you need a video to be convinced ghosts exist, you don't truly know what it means to know that the dead are among us.

The question of ghosts is not an idle one. We follow spirits of our own making all the time. We follow rules and rhythms of our own making now, wrapping ourselves in a sad cocoon of  hubris, wiling away our hours fulfilling nothing more than deadlines upon deadlines without a hint of irony.

I'm headed out to a mudflat in an hour or so, under a wet and wild early winter sky, to rake up a few clams, alive as I am, and as alive as I am, I will be as dead as those clams will be tonight in less than a lifetime.

Until you believe in the ghost you will be, you cannot truly live.
Originally posted a year ago. I like rhythms.