Friday, January 6, 2012

The box

How do I teach them that we are but tiny dancing dots on a spinning ball of rock in the middle of a vast universe of gases and fusion and gravity? How do I teach them that the shadows that follow them on the hopscotch game grow and change not because the sun rises and falls in the sky, but because this giant ball of rock we are stuck to is twirling on its axis at over a thousand miles per hour? And not only that, but we are also hurtling around the Sun at a face-peeling speed of over 66,000 miles an hour. At any given moment, the sun's position in the sky never changes. It is our place in space that is changing.

This is an effort in opening up the box they have sealed so tightly around their heads. The box that tells them, and has always told them, that the sun appears and then disappears every day like a puppet rising into view, dancing a jig and then disappearing beneath the stage.

Today I am a box tapper.

Some days I am content to let them live and breath and speak muffled science to me through their closed boxes. Other days, like today, I give their boxes a little tap. "Hey. Consider this," I prod. "What about this idea?" I suggest. I let the tap echo inside their box and wait patiently to see what the brain inside will do in response. And on some very special days, I get to be a box poker. I carry a pointy-ended stick that I use to punch a little hole in the bottom of their box. It is a small hole, and I am careful never to harm the thinker inside. But it is also a happy, sometimes anxious hole, that makes the thinker think a bit harder, look a bit farther and consider a bit bigger.

Today, I watch my little boxes reverberate the tap I tapped today. They buzz and bounce and a few brave ones even tap back, from the inside.

This is why I teach.

*Photo taken from:


  1. I had no idea a poet also lives inside your ventilated and translucent box.

  2. Beautifully said! Inside the box is safe and warm, but it is also dark and confining. Thank you for giving minds room to grow!