Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fall into Winter

Why do people forget what they once believed?

Maybe the only good book I've read for any of my classes at Harvard is E.B. White's One Man's Meat. It was good enough to show its cover juxtaposed to the burning rubble of suburban riots in Paris to provoke a concept of why our houses are important during my final presentation in the housing studio last year. My friend Andrew, a mountain philosopher living on the prairie, has brought this up before but I read it in White's book as well. Both pointed out one of the most poignant truths of the living world as observed by Darwin in his landmark study of earth worms and their ways and means:

"I was thus led to conclude that all vegetable mould over the whole country has passed many times through, and will again pass many times through, the intestinal canals of worms."

This is to say, the earth is moving all the time, worm-bite by worm-bite. If we could take a time-lapse video of a section of the ground, we would see it shift and swirl and fluctuate and move in indeterminant directions according to the ingestion and redepositings of earthworms. So too do roots push the earth one way or another, and digging moles, digging voles, burrowing things, nesting critters, the compressions of the feet of we surface dwellers with our Newtons of force-in-step.

So the point of moving the earth isn't to heave it. I too wish to move the earth, in fact it's something that I long for. My earth is all the dimensions of a vital world, in three, four, twelve, and many more that are fictional. It is our nature to become so acquainted with the soil of being human as human beings that we ingest it and pass it off, one way or another (though I am surely speaking more metaphorically here) and to provoke the shifting but re-establishing of its stuffiness. This is a strange thing to do, and it's strange to think about. White also observed:

"Try to tell a child even the simplest truths about planetary, cosmical, or spiritual things, and you hear strange echoes in your own head. 'Can this be me?' a voice keeps asking, 'can this be me?'"

I take this to be the essence of whatever pulses through the mind before one utters "I believe that..." The most essential things are often some of the silliest. You must be a fool to ingest and a sage to redeposit. What then am I talking about? I'm not quite sure but it has to do with a confession I have. If faith moves mountains, then I would like to glutton myself upon it. I have been timid, afraid, witholding, and now I'm desperate for the courage to put myself at risk. I wrote somebody who means a great deal to me earlier this semester that risks were worth it and then failed to live up to this very conviction--the same conviction which says that faith moves mountains, our world is in constant motion, re-creation is always and everywhere, and that we must give our world to those among us in our lives.

Saturday, November 03, 2007