Letting go

I'm letting go this year. I'm going to trust the collection of young humans sitting in my class, brains honed by countless generations before them, each and every child with a lineage going back as far as the first protobionts that globbed together in the seas here billions of years ago.

I'm letting go this year. I'm going to remind myself every morning, right after the Pledge of Allegiance, that I am mortal, that my students are mortal, and that the "liberty and justice for all" means just that. Neither is cheap. Nor are our children.

I'm letting go this year. I'm singing aloud in class, because I can, and because it helps children remember, It helps them remember facts, true, but more important, singing itself helps us remember who we are. I may drop a couple on a used guitar. I don't play well, but I do play. I don't sing well, either, but I do sing. As the warm July sun sets, I hear the squeaks and squawks and chimmering and chammering of cicadas and cardinals and squirrels and bees and crickets and grackles and dogs. Even the fish around here make noise, croakers and sea robins grunting in protest when dragged out of the water.

I'm letting go this year. I'm going to overtly share my ridiculous love and awe for this marvelous universe, one that belongs to any critter with ribosomes and some nucleic acids. I'm sharing our emerging stories of the natural world along with the joy and fear these stories elicit. Squid flashing light signals to each other deep in the ocean, orgiastic balls of earthworms reveling , bacteria sensing each other before working communally to a common goal--stories about other lives that help us grasp ours.

I have no idea what worlds lie outside what we can sense and rationally infer. I do know that what exists in our natural world exceeds the imaginations of all of us.  If a child's curiosity gets dampened in science class, you cannot blame the world.

Leslie's photos.

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