Sunday, June 06, 2010
Joyful Fields and Windows
Driving through the countryside to visit my grandchildren last week, I passed some fresh spring fields that looked positively joyful. Someone might snicker at the thought of a field feeling happy, but I tend to ignore that kind of anthropocentrism, being sure that the measureless universe “feels” in countless ways besides the human way. The fields I passed seemed joyful to me mostly because they we’re doing precisely what they were supposed to be doing – waving in the spring winds from the west. They were being absolutely perfect fields, and what better cause for joy than perfection? Another way of saying the fields were joyful would be to say they caused joy in me. I sometimes speak of “the joys of a bike ride”, and I can speak, in the same way, of the joys of these fields. There was something invisible in their shades of gold and the give and take of their swaying that sent me joyous thoughts as I passed by. This all has to do with teaching teenagers, because I sometimes sense a similar joyousness in the nonhuman things in my classroom. I always keep a vase of flowers front and center in my classroom, and often I feel the simple joys of having flowers close by. I also sometimes notice the pleasant, almost pleased look of my whiteboard as it stands clean and well-equipped for the kids, and the five wide windows, with their clear panes of springtime light these days, remind me of the joys of having windows to let in a day’s brightness. I’m fairly sure windows can’t actually feel joyful, but I’m also sure they can create joyfulness for students who have been staring at some obscure lines of Shakespeare and suddenly look up to see the light of an impressive June day through the glass.