Sunday, February 9, 2014
Body and sole. #rhizo14 meets metaphor
Despite the combined efforts of the door-mats and the cleaning-ladies in winter, the class-room floors were always marked by our childhood games of tig, play-ground football, paddling in the puddles. However much we were told to walk in a particular direction, the call of our souls towards the muck was too much for them, for us.
Mud, glorious mud, nothing quite like it for cooling the blood!
The kids may have been taught to walk on a particular path, will have been tested to tears for PISA, but daisy-chains, and conkers don't figure on the international league tables. How sad are the bean-counters for they shall inherit the earth and a vase of plastic tulips. Their arrogant aura, their jolly jousting, their master-plans will be lost for ever.
Under orders, under fire, things go pear-shaped. Thousands of years of research, lines of learned treatises all those casks of port...the metaphor remains a prickly source of study. Have they not listened to their doubts? No doubt not! Their extensive bibliography on an obscure tombstone will be a minor archaelogical curiosity. How shall we fit them into our histories?
Self-help books won't help them, economists won't count, life will escape them.
My greatest memories were the days of the great flood. The school was under eighty centimetres of North-Sea Sea-Water, a sunken dredging barge moored on the Fylde. Suddenly, life returned, the kids imaginations ran wild, the boys with waders were the elite. Power to anglers, say I! School Chapel was marooned, an unaccessible pulpit to power. God's little prank! Pupils wide open, sea-air everywhere, existential questions to the fore. Would God answer our prayers that the flood should let Latin be cancelled?
When we have worn out the soles or our shoes.
Who will know that despite our learning, our titles, our Sunday bests, what was really our soul intrigue was a metaphor. We may fear setting off towards unchartable territory. We may prefer the pack, the reviews of mine peers. The water rises.... perhaps what really counted was?
The texture of baked beans, the folksy fellowship and the smell of hot toast, the day of the deluge.