Thursday, January 8, 2009

Miracles




Miracles
by: Walt Whitman

Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with anyone I love, or sleep in the bed at night with anyone I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey bees busy around the hive of a summer afternoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim--the rocks--the motion of the waves--the ships with the men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?


I have had the pleasure of being an integrated feature in a Montessori classroom this last couple of months. I am an assistant in a class of 24 nine to twelve year old children. Despite the daily challenges, and "the grind" so to speak, I feel as though I have been an observer of continual miracles in and out of the classroom. The children continually surprise me. They surprise me with their extensive knowledge on just about every subject I know about. They amaze me with their seemingly adult analysis of complex situations and interpersonal problems. They surprise me with their humor and sometimes unfortunate knowledge of the popular world. However, then, on top of the almost infinite amount of knowledge they communally posses, they soak up intense pieces of history. They write, wonderful, humorous, and poignant pieces of prose and poetry. They struggle and cry and laugh and love and hate. All of these with so much intensity and clarity. They take the moment and ride it to their own devices. Seemingly more acutely present in these moments than I have been for many years.

It seems that some of us spend all our early years learning and accumulating so much knowledge, only to reach adulthood wanting to reach back again and find sense of the moment. Wanting to reach reality in our lives. Wanting to strip down our sense of self in order to find the true self, the still self. I am trying to take many lessons from the children in my community, but this one is the greatest. The moment to moment living and learning that they do has been forgotten by so many of us. It has happened through disillusionment and disappointment. through a loss of faith and a loss of love. But mostly fear through the lost faith in love. I see this too within the children of this community. The beginnings of adolescents is the ends of children. it is into this new phase of development that we guide our children. Hopefully we have given them the tools they need to fully expand into the beings they will ultimately be. Is is not really a question of how, but when they will arrive at the same point we ourselves inhabit, and the reality being such we hope that we have done our job. That maybe these children will be more well equipped than we ourselves were.

It has been said many times that the highest gift one can give to another is the silence that dwells in the heart. For it is only when the body (mind) is quiet that the true love of well-being is allowed to flow through the hearts of us. I am thankful for the quiet experiences I have been given, and those quiet experiences that I have helped to facilitate. THANK YOU.




Our class went to Longhorn caverns, Inks lake, and to Westcave Preserve during the fall semester. It was beautiful and full of quiet moments, for me and the children. I was truly impressed at how well they performed and behaved when put into real world situations and pressure.

Journal excerpt:

Stay here and now and all things will always be ok. Take
solace and comfort in the present moment.
Be compassionate with yourself.
Nick. Show yourself the gentleness that you need....

Hold yourself as you would love and hold your beloved. Tenderly
holding your heart.

Find Grace and Tender Unconditional love through
the children. Use their example.
See how they live through the moment. They relish it and
scream it and cry it. They live through it completely.

Westcave preserve

A paradise deep in the savana of Texas. Listen...
Can you hear what the Conquistadors heard on the Pedernales?
Can you see what the early German settlers saw?

NO

See what you see.
Hear what you hear.
....

I am sitting among these individuals who will carry on an interesting legacy.
Those children with very little connection to the earth.
To decomposition and growth.
Did I feel and know how beautiful and full of well-being the world was
When I was young?
Do I feel it more now?
Did I feel it then? I think I did.

Are you listening?
Children?

Rare moment, this silence.





2 comments:

Gio and Janice said...

What a gift you are to that community Nick. Thanks for sharing all of these beautiful thoughts and photos.
-Janice

CAMERA WORK said...

Thank you very much.