Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Into the Mystic, and a procession of ontologies

One morning, earlier this summer, we were driving north along the Salmon River in Idaho when Van Morrison came on the radio.

We were born before the wind

Also younger than the sun

Ere the bonnie boat was one as we sailed into the mystic

. . .

Just about there, Tom called right out from the back seat, with something between amusement and scandal, “we weren’t born before the wind!” We had all day to get to Missoula, so of course, this led to a longer conversation.

“What do you think he’s singing about?”

And so it went.

We never set out to make positivists of these kids, as they come to us little animists, playing in the outskirts of our rational, grown-up world. But here is one game that we’ve played with them. I guess it doesn’t really have a name, but it goes something like this:

“Which came first, gates or bait?”
(Followed by speculations and reasoning all around, until resolved to everyone’s basic satisfaction.)
Which came first, poles or holes?
Red or black?
Jerks or jerky?
Shoes or blue?
And so on.

Here’s another. Is a thing good or bad? Grasshoppers, Snow, Cheatgrass, Lightning, and so on.

“Are roads good?”
“Yes, for people. No for prairie dogs.”
“Yes, for ravens. No for Raccoons.”

Anyway, you get it.

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