A Collection of Astounding Facts

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So much on my mind these days. The events that have occurred ” inside the dog” of the classroom seem to break into fragments as soon as I place them within the frame of a story1 as if the frame does not hold the story together, but presses it apart into shards that glint and flicker like the flames caused shadows to dance across the wall of Plato’s cave. I suppose that I am that man chained to the floor, the one who cannot tell what is a shadow and what is a puppet.

I think that’s why I have not had a story to tell lately2, but I do have a need to connect things together even if I am suspicious of stories right now.3 So, if not a story, here are some things collected and arranged in close proximity to each other.

Here’s one piece: Mary Lee Hahn’s lovely Poetry Friday post about noticing the small things, the important things (as well as about Mark Strand’s poetry and something as small as the Universe.)

I don’t know that,
but we’re made of the same stuff that stars are made of,
or that floats around in space.

But we’re combined in such a way
that we can describe
what it’s like to be alive,
to be witnesses.
Most of our experience is that of being a witness.
We see and hear and smell other things.

(Line breaks are Mary Lee’s)

Another fragment tumbled through the ether: Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Most Astounding Fact, that not only are we part of the universe, but the universe is part of us: “Our desire is to be connected, isn’t it…?”

And, while splitting wood last weekend, a third bit arrived on the east wind of an overcast day during a break to rest my back: a visceral sense that locked deep within the rings of wood created on one sunny day over 100 years ago was the breath of people and critters who once lived in the place that I inhabit now, a carbon journey that moved in time from these breaths to carbon chains created through a clever bit of chemistry and the Sun’s own energy deep inside the organs of living beings so different than me (plants!), and all this, in turn, from bits of carbon created in the cores of stars many times more massive than our Sun, so ancient as to be unimaginable. Carbon loaned to me in the form of a body today will be somewhere else tomorrow.

Connected, indeed.

Somehow it seems really important that I ponder these things.

  1. For example, our Science engineering unit nearing completion is BOTH a successful attempt to provide space for analytical thinking AND a dismal failure to manage a couple groups who have children with prickly personalities…as well as a few more things I don’t even realize.
  2. Or, rather, I have too many stories to tell about the same event, which may be the same thing.
  3. My suspicion comes and goes.

2 thoughts on “A Collection of Astounding Facts

  1. It is most astounding, isn’t it?

    This is the part that knocked me back:

    “I mean, we are –
    as far as we know –
    the only part of the universe that’s self-conscious.
    We could even
    be the universe’s
    form of consciousness.

    We might have come along
    so that the universe could
    look at itself. “

    • Me, too, Mary Lee, ‘though sometimes I wonder just how much we see beyond ourselves. How much do we care about the lichens on the rock? The moss on the tree trunk that turns so brilliant green in the growing February sun? The tiger salamander slumbering below the frost line: “Abundant, but secretive.”

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