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Dreams 2-24-16

February 24, 2016

I was teaching a college class, from my chair at a desk in the front of the classroom. Twenty or so students were seated and ready to begin. The classroom was spacious, and in the outer corner to my right was a kitchen area much like the one in my current home, including a dining area with a sliding door onto a stone patio.

The students started taking notes as I told them that today I would be talking about narration. Then I told about various characteristics of the Mississippi River. I talked about mysteries and how closely one has to pay attention to people. I told about some difficult lives and especially nuances and the unexpected in relationships. How little we know. People live within circumstances of class struggle, but in America we often aren’t aware of that. It can be hard to make sense of life. I talked about how it could be, that coherence can mirror something that is hardly that way. War for instance. Life offers humorous reversals and tragic surprises. One thing seems to follow another, but does it? Adherence to reality is important; and an attitude such as reverence can be as pervasive as change. Life is always interesting and so is language, and literature must be at least equal to that.

Just before class I had been cooking, with a large iron skillet and a smaller stainless steel skillet. When class was about to begin I emptied the food from the skillets and placed them back on the stove. Now we realized that I had forgotten to turn off the burners. The skillets had become very hot. I got up and put the stainless steel skillet into the larger iron skillet, and went back to the desk and sat down, without interrupting my talk. I talked about music, emotion, and the mysteries of the rational. The students were half listening to me and half watching the stove. Someone mentioned that my solution wasn’t going to work, because the heat of the iron skillet would cause the metals of the skillets to interact. It was ionization.

I got back up and walked over and took the stainless steel skillet out of the iron one, with a fork, and held it in the air while I looked for some better place to set it down. It was very hot, and now I had another problem. The heat in the iron skillet had ionized a hole in the stainless steel, so that skillet was about to slide down the fork and burn my hand and arm. I had to juggle it in such a way that I could keep it away from anything else that it could burn while preventing it from sliding down the fork to my skin.

While I continued talking I carried the hot skillet over to the sliding door, opened it, and set the skillet down on the cobblestones of the patio to cool. It was a pleasant day, and I noticed that the moss on the cobblestones was growing nicely, turning them earth colors and green.

I left the patio door open and went back to the desk, sat down, and continued to talk. It was almost the end of the class hour, so I asked the students what I had been talking about. They looked at me, puzzled. “It’s in your notes,” I said. They looked down at their notebooks. They had stopped taking notes early in the lecture, as was often the case. The point was the experience of thinking while listening together. A hand went up. “You were talking about narration.”

Very satisfying.

From → dreams, Uncategorized

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