Monday, September 20, 2010

love life for its own sake


"We must love life before loving its meaning."
Dostoyevsky


Does there need to be something more? Should there be some higher meaning for loving life? I don't think so. I think that the chipmunks carefully twisting apart pinecones to get at the pinenuts, the breeze swaying the little clapping hand-leaves of the aspens, the inchworm taking a whole day to get to the top of a fruit tree, the reds and pinks in the sunset, the silver in the sunrise, the rain coming down in sheets, a grasshopper springing out before you in an empty lot...this is love of living.
There is no meaning, and all meaning in it.
Nature does not ask itself, "now what must I be happy about today so that I can get going and do what I am supposed to do? What, today, will give me great meaning so I can feel peaceful in this world"
Literally, it goes about its work.
The deer make babies, take care of babies, try to avoid cars, seek refuge under trees, nibble at bitterbrush and garden tomatoes, and love their lives by living them the best that they are able.
The cat looks for food, catches chipmunks, climbs trees, sways precariously on top of chicken coops, finds convenient holes to poop in, curls up in front of fires and feels at peace with itself. Life is good, just in the living of it.

It is not always (ever?) important to know the meaning in what we do, but just to know that we fit where we are, that the life we are living has meaning within itself, that possibly meaning can grow from it when we simply love where we are at at this moment.

I was mopping my classroom, and was thinking about all sorts of other things, when I began to think about the mopping itself. What meaning does it have in the scheme of teaching? I didn't know, but I thought I should learn to love it, because I'll be doing lots of it. It struck me that there didn't have to be any meaning from it. I was doing, it needed to be done, and I felt satisfaction in having done it myself. Just being there, just doing it...that was it.

I have never heard a 5 year old ask, "What is the meaning of this? why are you teaching us about the eyeball? why are we learning about cowboys? Why must we do glitter? What does it all mean?"
No, they don't have to have any meaning, because life is worth living just as it comes to them. Hooray glitter and glue!! Life is good!!
Hooray, rain left water in our sand buckets, let's make soup!!
Hooray, stacking blocks! Life is good!
Hooray, cutting out paper and gluing it on! Woohoo!
Hooray, I get to dust with the little blue duster!
Hooray, I get to wipe off our chairs with this orange sponge!! Life is goooood!
Hooray, inside recess!
Hooray, outside recess!
Hooray, double recess!
Hooray, hooray, hooray!

Life doesn't have to have deep meaning to be deeply satisfying.
We ran out of the lemons that life was dealing us, but we have onions? Make onion dip!
woohoo! Onion dip!!

Children and Nature: Loving what is, simply because it is.


3 comments:

sarah said...

Yes, I completely agree with you!

Laura said...

Oh, to see through a child's eyes, life does become a whole lot simpler. Love it, Katie, and so glad you have found your place. I would love to be in your classroom!

Love,
Laura

Jeanne Klaver said...

Wonderful! This is so uplifting. Love it!