Monday January 5 — start-up time
About 5:30 this morning the western sky over Livernois showed off the moon’s sharp edges as if the first full week of Term 2 were sheer magic. Made me want to dance into the day. By 7:00 cloud cover had erased that moon from sight, but not from memory. Time to settle in and get used to work weeks again. This post, taken mostly from last January 14, is dedicated to the beauty of what universities do, as crisp and wonderful as today’s early morning moon. Dedicated to our primary identity of teaching and learning.
We are a university. Here, people listen, take each other seriously. Teachers listen to students. When I taught full-time, some students told me one day that I was most scary when one of them would say something and I would turn around and write her/his words on the board, circle one word then turn around and ask: “Why did you choose that word?” Teachers do that. Listen for the voice, call it forth; expect respect for words. Not only teachers though. Universities call on students to listen to each other, to expect meaning from each other. Also, administrative assistants, staff in the registrar’s office, nurse practitioners in the student wellness center, campus security officers, coaches; lots of listening. On good days, each of us knows that. And on hard days, maybe one of our peers will notice and ask how we are doing, and listen to our story.
Rabindranath Tagore writes of God expecting a song from human beings, thrilling us by sacred attention. (Gitanjali # 2)
Have a good week.
Tagore # 2
When Thou commandest me to sing
it seems that my heart would break with pride
and I look to Thy face
and tears come to my eyes.
All that is harsh and dissonant in my life
melts into one sweet harmony
and my adoration spreads wings like a glad bird
on its flight across the sea.
I know Thou takest pleasure in my singing
I know that only as a singer I come before Thy presence
I touch by the edge of the far spreading wing of my song
Thy feet which I could never aspire to reach.
Drunk with the joy of singing
I forget myself
and call Thee friend
who art my lord.
Tagore Gitanjali # 2
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1913