Sunday, November 24, 2013


Despite my love of science, and aside from my shockingly provocative and liberal Human Sexuality class, the classes I remember the most from college were my Ethnic Studies courses and English/Writing. The professor who still manages to reside in my brain 14 years later taught a combination of both. I sadly don't remember his name and I vaguely remember his face but his words, the images he painted and literature he introduced me to have followed me through life. He brought Popul Vuh into my world and introduced me to Hieronymus Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights by way of (I believe though could be wrong) Always Running. After reading the first chapter as homework, he began the class by asking if anyone knew who Hieronymus Bosch was. Silence. He then stated "So none of you really understood the imagery the author presented you with then." In the book, the author described a hillside in Tijuana as being akin to a Bosch painting. So our next assignment included researching the painter, picking one his painting and writing about it. I chose Garden of Earthly Delights and have never once forgotten the artists existence.

I think I wrote about him before, possibly in this blog. The other question he posed us with over the course of the semester was "Could we identify the pieces of our world?" He used trees as an example stating that a good writer paints a picture and if we couldn't readily identify our world, how could we paint a picture? A tree is not simply a tree. There are vast differences between an Oak, a Willow, a Pine and a Eucalyptus. I never really knew why he made such an impact on me but I'm grateful for his teachings as now, years later, they've been helpful in my life.

As the years have passed and my brain has finally (I believe) healed from chemo, I find myself being even more of a nerd than I was as a child. Especially with google and smart phones, my first inclination is that I must. know. NOW. Any and every animal and creature I meet and cannot identify is searched for in field guides. I'll spend hours in bed reading about chemistry and physics and astronomy and history and the etymology of words and names. My appetite for knowledge has been insatiable these past few years. The roots of everything that enters my world has become so utterly fascinating because I've finally become interested in identifying the pieces of my world. While branches are beautiful stretching towards the sky, the roots are the source nestled deep down within the Mother and there's just something so divine about that.

And in case you were wondering, the root of the word tree in many ancient cultures is Oak. Interesting, no?

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