Thursday, April 01, 2010


     We’re dealing with some serious flooding in southern New England these days – rivers are “rising and surging”, as one resident put it – and this morning, leafing through a dictionary, I happened to come upon the word “resource”, and was surprised to discover that its origin is the old French resourdre, meaning “rise again”, which is in turn based on the Latin surgere, which means “to rise”. This didn’t suggest to me that our current floods are actually a resource for us, but it did set me thinking about one particular resource my students and I have in our work in English class. It may be a more powerful resource than we have imagined, a resource that actually does rise and surge through our lives in transforming ways. I’m referring, of course, to our ability to think, an ability that, in one sense, is stronger and more forceful than springtime floods. My students and I have far more thoughts available to us than we realize – thoughts that, you might say, are constantly rising like rivers. This resource is available to us instantly and abundantly, flowing through us with an almost reckless lack of restraint. What’s odd is that my students and I sometimes actually don’t see, or believe in, this overflowing mental resource. It’s as if, standing beside the flooded river in my small Rhode Island town and watching the water surge wildly along, we were to calmly say, “Where’s the flood? Where’s the rising, surging river?” It’s in our minds, all the time -- thoughts ceaselessly flowing like the finest resource, but sometimes, I fear, they flood through my classroom largely unnoticed.

© 2010 Hamilton Salsich

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