A few years ago a sentence in the morning paper caught my eye, so it was hastily ripped out and stuck in a pocket. That night, while getting ready to go to bed, I took it out and stuck it in small sprig of babies breath that was in a vase on the vanity. The newsprint has long since gone yellow, and the babies breath shriveled, died and dried, but the quote by Plutarch, born in Greece long ago in 46 AD? has not lost it's potency. "The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled."
I look around
my home and see all the things I have collected in anticipation of finding
sparks. Rows of books to ignite my mind, collections of stones and feathers to
excite my eyes, groupings of odd items acquired on trips and visits to stir slow
embers of memory. I remember the finding of each, but what about their affect?
experience have washed away at both my anticipation and intention, the mind
smoothed flat with habit and assumption. It makes me think about the newsprint.
Have you ever tried to light a flat piece of paper? It will not burn. It needs
to be crumpled together just tightly enough to have fiber and air in perfect
balance to interact.
I wonder if
all my objects still hold the potential to kindle fires of the mind, ideas and
questions? Or is it all
just stuff that fills in space between these four walls. How does a fire start
if it does not have enough air?