Language is one of the greatest gifts that we humans possess. It sets us apart from every other creature on earth. Scientists, experimenting with animals to determine the extent of their language efficacy, report that animals do communicate among themselves, as various studies in Nature and other scientific journals attest, but so far nothing has been found to equal humans’ ability to express themselves in free-flowing complex and comprehensible language. Words, the vehicle of language, are a capital asset, and even in this age of twitter and text messages, real words still matter and are influential.
Our thoughts and emotions can be couched in words and phrases laden with the potential for extensive good, yet words are inherently fleeting, and it is precisely because of their evanescence that we ought to be careful to use words that leave no harmful residue of negativity. As children we were told to choose our words carefully because, once spoken, words can’t be pulled back in like a kite. This caution also holds true for us in adulthood. We, too, need to be careful how we use the gift of words. But when we observe how words are being used in the current national atmosphere, we have to conclude that some grownups, especially those in high places, tend to forget to mind the words of their mouths.
I worked as an educator for twenty-five years in NJ until I retired a couple years ago. The entire district in was a low socio-economic community. One of the major complaints teachers made was that parents didn’t care about their kids. Once I became a school disciplinarian, I found that parents felt the same about teachers—they were just there for the paycheck. Imagine that! If one would believe both parents and teachers, then who did care about the kids and why was there this disconnect between parents and teachers?
One thing I could piece together was that the parents were fierce about their children. If their kid didn’t have the correct gear or the child’s cell phone was taken or someone was picking on their child, they were at the school demanding action. So it was not accurate that they didn’t care. They cared; it was just that education was not their number one concern. It was the perceived role of the school in the health, welfare, and rights of their child that was paramount.
What would it mean to unlock the mysteries of both the visible and invisible dark night skies? In Matthew Bothwell’s article Monsters in the Dark, the Cambridge astronomer eloquently and patiently explains the invisible monster galaxies uncovered by the Hubble Space Craft’s long-exposure images. Relying on infrared light exposures, the new imagery penetrates the cosmic dust barriers to reveal in his words: a “vibrant cosmic powerhouses in the distant Universe” engaged in active star-making.
Bothwell admits that we don’t know why these massive galaxies even exist. The spiritual-cosmological questions that follow could sound like these: “What forces bring them into existence?” “Why do they die?” and most profoundly, “Why, or what purpose do they serve?” This busy star-nursery also fosters questions about our own existence back here on Earth and to what degree are we alone in the universe.
That whole morning and night before were one long prayer for assistance. I woke at four, and sat in the living room of my friends’ river-side house, speaking aloud to the darkness, undamming the river, flooding inside.
Then I got ready, and drove to Red Clay State Park.
For years, my feet have taken me to Red Clay State Park, near Cleveland, Tennessee. This land was once the last seat of Cherokee government, and also the place where, in 1838, the Cherokee people learned that the Treaty had again been broken, their remaining land would be taken, and they would be forcibly “removed” to Oklahoma and parts unknown. Thousands and thousands of people died.
( Part 1 of 3 Series)
“The lenses of mass media as the sole window to the outside world is detrimental to the way we perceive our fellow Earthlings. Somehow, It can burn bridges than build them.”