Magnitudinous (vol. 4, no. 11)

Here are a few things I’m sharing this month:

1. Question I’m living with:

  • “Much of the same thing happens to nations and peoples at a certain critical moment in their development. They ask themselves: What are we, and how can we fulfill our obligations to ourselves as we are?” – Octavio Paz

2. Quote I’m considering:

  • “So the poem is one sentence long, and its title is “Sentence,” in both the grammatical and the judicial sense. And it says: “The body of a starving horse does not forget the size it was born to.” And, you know, that is biologically true. The skeleton does not grow smaller. But in writing it, even though I thought I was writing what the words say, something in me understood, even as they came from my pen, that what I was trying to evoke was the sense of the magnitude of a human being, under any circumstance, is there. It cannot be erased, cannot be erased.” – Jane Hirshfield

3. Poem I’m pondering:

Excerpt from “Dead Star” by Ada Limon

Look, we are not unspectacular things.
       We’ve come this far, survived this much. What

would happen if we decided to survive more? To love harder?

What if we stood up with our synapses and flesh and said, No.
     No, to the rising tides.

Stood for the many mute mouths of the sea, of the land?

What would happen if we used our bodies to bargain

for the safety of others, for earth,
                 if we declared a clean night, if we stopped being terrified,

4. Something inspiring:

5. Given that Rewilding is not for everyone, I’m toying with the idea of starting off the book with the following “Cautionary Note”. Feel free to let me know what you think:

Like the golden ball that appears in innumerable myths and folktales. The one that mysteriously bounds out of the tangled wilds of some darkened forest. The one that rolls to a stop at the feet of the story’s protagonist. The one that asks to be picked up, stared into and contemplated. The one that reflects back possibility in its glossy exterior. This book, like that golden ball, is for those professors who wander the edges of their campus wondering if there is not more to this thing called (higher) education. For those who still get butterflies on the first day of class. For those who gasp in amazement at the improbable series of events that had to unfold in the just right way to bring them and their students together on this watery planet spinning through the darkness of space. For those who see their students as chrysalis-like pockets of potentiality, who instinctively gather with them in circles not grids, and who hold their classrooms with the same fierce and gentle intensity as a kid sprinting down a country road with a fistful of wonderfully idiosyncratic wildflowers he had just picked for his grandma.

This book is for those who still hear the singing of our profession above the whirring of the machine.

Thanks so much. And, have a great day! – shawn