I had a professor in graduate school who pointed out how the study of clouds has been hindered by the fact that we are able to see them. This point has sunk in and now I wonder to what extent we misunderstand those things that we can sense simply because we are increasingly more philosophically incapable of delving beneath what is there.
Be wary, O my soul,watch over thy conscience; pay no attention to the falls of others, but be instead more attentive to thine own falls.
from A Spiritual Psalter, St. Ephraim the Syrian; Psalm 67
I’m sorry to say so, but sadly it’s true,
that bang-ups and hang-ups can happen to you.
from “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss
It is as yet unclear to me whether we purchased a bunk bed or a jungle gym for my two boys this past 4<sup>th</sup> of July, but the outcome (as any parent may gather) is the same. My two year old, who is an endless source of tension and amusement these days, has demonstrated an incredible capacity through mispronunciation for prophecy. Rather than bunk bed pronounced with a ‘uh’ as a normal human being might say it, he has been tearing about the house ecstatically talking about his ‘bonk’ bed, pronounced with a definite ‘ah’.
And this past Sunday, as my wife and I were out celebrating our 12<sup>th</sup> year of marriage and our 15 year old babysitter stepped from the room to retrieve the cooking fishsticks, our 2 year old took a dive from a standing position off of the top ‘bonk’. The exact trajectory remains unclear (although the wounds suggests a bounce off a chest-of-drawers before interfacing with the ground), the results are: a swollen black-eye.
Although it is difficult to discern what was going through our young babysitter’s mind, she behaved admirably, sticking to the credo of “no apparent permanent damage, no need to interrupt mom and dad during quality time”. Needless to say, there are now new rules in place regarding the proper interaction with said ‘bonk’ bed…
I used to worry over my chickens. But, after a couple bite the dust due to natural or otherwise feline-related causes, you tend to forget their names. We have three remaining egg layers (after several had died), and were preparing to introduce two more that we had raised from chick-dom. The two were sitting in a dog cage by the main chicken coop.
This past Monday I woke to my wife telling me that we had waited too long to cull our chicken Fluffy (the weak link that has incited feather picking and cannibalism). Fluffy’s death didn’t way heavily on me – she is not a particularly attractive bird given how badly she has been beaten by the other chickens and, as I said before, she was going to meet her end. I did feel a twinge of sadness that the meat had gone to waste. But, too my dismay, it turned out that our two new chickens, Flo and Dot, had had their respective heads removed by what can only be surmised to be a raccoon. Alas, said perpetrator was unable to obtain access to the cage that they were in so they remained, headless, in the cage.
And while my two-year-old seemed mildly distressed, the distress didn’t last long. He wandered church that day telling everyone in his garbled two-year-old manner “A raccoon took the heads of our chickens” to which he received a cursory reply indicating a lack of understanding and a smile. I think we will cull the flock next year and try again. Three is not a bad number now. Just wish they weren’t attacking each other.
Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one’s living at it.
As I sat in a class for laser safety (“don’t point one at your or your neighbor’s eye”), I became fascinated by the complexity of the eye and its effect on how we view the world – how we perceive light; how light penetrates and is focused into images we can interpret; how fragile it is. The realization of this complexity generated a genuine sense of wonder. And this sense of wonder brought to mind something a co-worker in my own scientific field said one day as we discussed the change in attitude concerning research over the past century. He noted that science has become a career rather than something that someone pursues out of a pure sense of enjoyment or wonder (something that is wonderfully expressed by the above quote). And now, after having turned this over in my mind for some time, I realize that this sense of wonder is truly what is missing. We continually study the “natural” world, attempting to probe ever deeper, never stopping to truly enjoy the beauty and mystery that our queries uncover. Most of us have forgotten why we pursue this path and cling to the prestige and money it may bring us, justifying these vain glories as being “for the good of the people” all the while having at best no net positive impact on society (those of us in climate related fields being particularly guilty of this). We have forgotten the child-like wonder we experienced the first time we held a lizard in our hand or sat out and looked at the stars in the arms of our parents that exposed us (albeit unknowingly) to deeper spiritual meaning.
Where is that wonder now? Will we return or continue down the path we have chosen, never considering the true purpose for the journey?
Throughout the day, these prayers echo in my head, reverberating even in my own wickedness with praise for you God. Glory to you O Lord, glory to you.