Rising off my sleeping bag in the cold September air, I can’t help but think to myself how lucky I am. I can afford gear and food that allows me to be outside and active even when the cold has told so many people to stay inside. I have the support of family to take on new adventures. I have the gift of teachers willing to support my learning.
The light inside this tent, faintly blue through tent walls in the rising sun behind clouds, the sound of a bird dust-bathing outside, drips with possibility. Stories live on the rock walls, in the plants that line the trails, among the people I am lucky to be here with.
I am lucky to have a job that allows me to work so meta cognitively; I get to deeply explore the contexts in which my work lives. Math lives in places. Stories live in places. There is danger in separating learning from its contexts
I got to thinking about awe related to learning because I gave up a spot at a writing about awe workshop in order to be outdoors; to experience awe rather than to concentrate on writing about it. What I learned is that the experience of awe slows our experience of events so that we actually remember more of the event. Could it be that awe is the factor that allows learners to widen the aperture on the learning and take in more light? If we can spend fifty minutes with paper and pencil or fifty minutes knee deep in snow and asking questions the awe-inspiring experience has to win every time.
Why is the world beautiful? What if the answer lies in science, and math, and stories waiting for us to trip over them while we lay in the snow and look up at the sky and watch the flakes drift down? Yes practice and fluency with facts matter. Yes. But only if we uncover a need for them first.
Experience. Then wonder. Then share. Story as a noun. Story as a verb. Uncover a need for knowing… then uncover the knowing.