Since coming to Chewonki, I’ve had an awakening of sorts. I’m learning to see the world for what it is. Students and teachers here try to find beauty and inspiration in both the world’s complexity and its simplicity. They seem to be able to find just the right balance between trying to give a detailed scientific explanation to how everything in our world works and just enjoying the abyss of mysteries for which Earth does not seem to provide a concrete scientific answer. Lying on the warm, dry grass that extends into the water at my phenology site, I was inspired the by first true sunny spring day and the clear water before me to create the following list.
Things I Do Not Understand (Part I)
-Reflections on water
-How the sky stays up there
-Why the sky is blue
-What the sky is…
-The perfect symmetry you can find in nature
-The movement of water – Is it just tiny individual particles that are moving? How do they appear so connected and flow so perfectly together?
*Can we really ever step in the same river twice?
-WIND!!! Where did the movement all start? What was at the beginning? Does there always have to be a beginning? Maybe we can only understand things in terms of beginnings and endings…in a linear way. But is there some greater force out there that knows how to think/act in some cyclical infinity – not just limited to these “beginnings” and “endings”?
-How do things appear so still when the world and everything in it is constantly in motion?
-What about all the stuff that goes on underwater that we don’t see? Under the earth?
-How do birds and trees and squirrels feel about students at some semester school memorizing their “names” (just labels we’ve given them) and staring at them all the time? (I mean, if I were a tree, I’d think it was pretty sweet.)
-Back to the sky thing again – how does the sun light up the whole thing? That ONE star? I guess we’re smaller than we sometimes seem to think…
-Why do things that are far away from us look so small? Really, they appear just as giant to someone standing right next to them as the things we are close to appear to us…sometimes it’s hard to comprehend that.
-Motion. What makes it happen?!
-Dirt. What’s with that stuff anyway? Yeah, it comes from crushed up/eroded rock, but now we’re back to the whole motion problem.
-Where does all this stuff come from?!? There’s so much variety on Earth – how does that work out? What even makes anything exist in the first place?
These are all things for which I know science could pretty easily provide an answer. Yet I don’t seem quite satisfied knowing all the answers. Sometimes, I feel like just wondering and never really knowing is the most glorious thing of all.
-Adriana Walsh, Winslow, ME