Saturday, March 14, 2009

the rules of the game

a day of science

I look at the kids
and I see eyes wide-open:
each focus forward and intense,
as cheeks lift, lips part, eyes dance
with the humor in the moment,
as behind the eyes
the mind is awake, alive, intrigued,

the speaker owns the stage
and intellect after intellect wakens to the hunt--
a question is raised and the answer becomes the quarry,
each of us gets the scent
and we thrill in the pursuit and when we get it,

there’s something deeply satisfying each time we realize
how much the question grabs us
and how completing it feels as we step forward into answers,

each pursuit and success also whets the appetite,
and we re-awaken to hunger after hunger to learn,
and to the thrill when a window unto a piece of the universe
opens, clears, reveals,

as wide-ranging and profound as this first hour’s revelations,
the next journeys take us further and deeper,
and the students follow interest and leadings into hands-on odysseys:

extracting DNA from strawberries and bananas,
learning lab techniques to get at nature’s rules,
exploring memory and string theory,
reading the story in bones and mystery boxes,
in what an infrared camera and music reveal,
building an enclosed world for amphibians
and releasing the power of a potato cannon and a rocket,

learning of home disasters and how to prevent them,
of what’s in our lungs and in our air,

of the magic that a prism reveals within light,

then, after lunch, experiencing, vicariously,
others’ taking a risk to ask a question,
posit a potential answer,
and what follows in the results
as the universe gives answers to the question
within the possibilities the experiment allows,
at the same time experiencing others’ labor to make models of a solar car,

a final project, working with fellow advisees,
to protect an egg to be dropped 10 feet,
the enthusiasm for each success,
the camaraderie at each breaking,

and the day winds down,
a spotlight on particular experiments that spoke particularly loudly,

throughout, there was a joy in the learning,
a sense that student after student gets it,
that the world is accessible to understanding
and that each of us is accessible to the means
from without us and from within us
to learn answers that respond to deep needs within us to know,

for all of us who live play a game
and how much more wonderful if we know the rules.

by Henry Walker
March 13, ’09

1 comment:

Bill said...

well obviously I love this one and with the pictures, really nice. Really, really enjoyed reading it. (written from the lab).