“For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Nothing is impossible, even Uncle Gerard’s randomly encountering this blog! I am, frankly, awed by the internet and amused, too. Our readership has increased by one at least, though I realize that it’s frequented only by interested friends and family. All the same, I try to write about more than just life, but how my experiences are shaped by the world around me. For instance, today Casie “treated” (check out the scare quotes, not to be confused with a scare-crow) me to a delicious Clark lunch, which we topped off with orange-vanilla soft-serve swirls. But when she took a bite, her face contorted and she immediately reported that it tasted “like lemon Pledge.” I had already eaten several spoonfuls of the stuff, not noticing anything remarkable about it: I tasted orange and vanilla. Now my mouth feels squeaky clean – and clean is just the beginning.
Additionally remarkable, as I walked across campus I noticed a group of people staring at a tree, but carefully standing a good six or eight feet away from the object of interest. As I neared, the group drifted apart and I observed a large hawk, or perhaps even a small eagle, standing there at the base of the tree, its talons imbedded in a small rodent, possibly one of the numerous fat squirrels that frequent Clark’s oaks. The bird’s sharp, hooked beak tore small bits of flesh off the rodent effectively even while the bird kept an eye on the curious – and perhaps revolted – human spectators. Though I cannot explain why, my stomach did not turn even in the least bit: this is the way God created the hawk to eat. I trust its efficiency in killing to have ended the squirrel’s life quickly; and it’s not that the squirrel had no chance. God made squirrels darters, short bursts of speed up trees their specialty. This one didn’t dart fast enough, possibly because it had been lucky enough to find more food than the rest. But the bird had to eat too, and who knows but that that squirrel may have been its only food for some time? It seemed fitting, a justice in life. I work hard for my food, the bird seemed to say, and none of its pride was diminished in the way it ate. The only odd part was that it was in the middle of the academic campus, this place of “higher education” where theory surpasses practice in many ways. Here we spend hours listening, writing these idea-symbols on a page, staking our future lives on these… and here we find this fight for survival embodied physically before us, a hawk eating its breakfast.
We argued in MAWII about Pudd’nhead Wilson. Mark Twain addresses the debate of nature versus nurture by switching a white baby with a “black” baby (if 1/32 genetic makeup causes that title). The two grow up with their roles inverted, and the black baby, Tom, grows up to be a terrible bully. He has no likeable traits whatsoever; he delights in hurting people at every turn; he gambles and steals to pay of his gambling debts; he sells his own mother “down the river;” and, though it was his mother Roxy’s machinations, he usurped the place of a white boy who never did him any harm. When the white boy who was raised as a slave, Chambers, was reinstated in his lawful place as a fine white member of society he hardly knew what to do with himself. How much of Tom and Chambers’ behavior was natural, a result of genes? Certainly nurture brought them up raised as white and slave, and each accepted his lot. Chambers never felt a righteous stirring in his chest that said, “I am white and am being cheated.” Tom, well… he was, as I’ve said, scummy. Was that one drop of black blood what caused him to act spitefully, to have a vindictively cruel personality? How much can be blamed on upbringing versus genetic code? Our class never reached a conclusion, possibly because Twain never offered one in the text, and there’s only so far you can extrapolate outside of that text until the discussion becomes sheer speculation.
– KF –
33 days to my husband.