Here then may be lived a life of the senses so pure, so untouched by any mode of apprehension but their own, that the body may be said to think. Each sense heightened to its most exquisite awareness, is in itself total experience. This is the innocence we have lost, living in one sense at a time to live all the way through.– Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain
Observations written sometime in May:
The polarities of igneous rock – like granite made from violent fiery volcanic activity – and sedimentary rock – like limestone which is a more slow and gentle layering over time as life ebbs and decays. All the rocks and minerals settle somewhere between these two extremes. Geological time scale is one of the slowest time scales and it gives us an opportunity for us to zoom up and out of our own daily preoccupations and appreciate the birth of earth itself.
Today I have interesting questions and no answers. My younger teen class, the one with my fourth daughter, tries to come up with the most imaginative answers. I give them time. They slowly use their logic to mold the answer. We hold on to the question for as long as possible even if it’s at a glacial pace.
For example, one child asks, “What would happen if we drilled a hole right here to the other side of the world, would we end up upside down? Or where would we right ourselves up?”
This question came upon the heels of a legend I told about how granite was born, touching upon the enigma of how we define life. Can a rock be born? And how does the non-living beget the living?
This led to more discussion on how far we could go before our drill broke. What type of drill would we need? Could we live at the center of the earth if the surface became unlivable?
The next day I began the class by asking the question, “Where is the land of fire and ice?”
My daughter, who loved Norse Mythology, shouted, “Ginunggagap!” I laughed and said, “Close!” because although she was referencing a mythical place, she pinpointed the area of the world where indeed there is the land of fire and ice.
I push where they declare themselves immovable and I soften the edges of the sharpest corners.