Sunday, May 11, 2014

Science Day '14

the clarity of science

I avoid instruction manuals,
I find them obfuscatory and obtuse,
I tire quickly when reading the rules of a game
for rules are like a skeleton:
they give structure but lack spark, adventure, life,

yet what is science
but the look for the blueprint, the rules,
the “why” behind the “what,”
the “how” within the “is”?

and I love science,
I love the clarity 
when the simplicity of answers
burns through the mist of our ignorance,
when the oracles speak not in riddle
and instead let us see an expanding truth,

how hard it is to be open
both to what comforts us
and to what challenges
how we’d like it all to be.

how wonderful when one can have gifted guides into the clarity of science,

our middle school celebrates science with a “Science Day,”

an ice-storm blocked our March day for it
with pine trees down everywhere
and power out at school,
presenters asked for a rescheduling,
the students wanted it to happen,
so we found a way for all to come together two months later:
the day starts off with an exuberant hour
that explores the science of music
and involves the kids as instrument and questing mind,

a wealth of workshops follows as practitioners of disciplines
share how their particular doors open into revelation:
how dangers can be seen and prepared for,
how soil and Siri and the brain work,
how unsettling optic illusions and settling fibers work,
how Paleolithic foods can be tastefully reciped into tasty treats,
how DNA can be enticed from strawberries

and plastic visioned into creations,

how baboons can be studied in the wild,
how gravity works in the falling
and how rockets work in the lifting,

how simple items can be engineered into drawing machines,

throughout it all, workshops leaders blaze with enthusiasm and competence,
and light after light within the students flares in sympathetic response,

how appropriate that our final challenge involves design of a package 
to protect an incandescent light bulb in a drop of 10 feet,

the light bulb so often a symbol of a new thought,
and all the packages work 
so that every light tests “on” in a lamp,

the light within each student today,
now only did not dim,
but rather the inherent brightness of each redoubles into the brightness
we believe to be the inherent rightness of each student before us.

by Henry H. Walker
May 9, ’14

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