Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Agency of History

David said a perfect thing to the students this afternoon, as he was hosting them for good, hot, strong coffee and rich, sustaining sweets. He said that history bubbles up out of the ground in Brittany, the way that oil bubbles up out of the ground in Texas. We had a day filled with adventure, a comedy of errors, poignancy, and this history, this insistent history that keeps bubbling out of the ground. Barenton Fountain fooled me and I missed a turned and I knew we'd gone too far, and I was mortified even though the students were fine and along comes a knight in shining armor. Not really, a Breton on a bike. But it felt the same. He led us to the path's entrance and in we went up to the fountain and its trees, which I find even more beguiling. I don't know how images load up on Blogger on an iPad, but I have him below. I love his proud stance, single rescuer of 25 happy students, one relaxed adult, one nervous adult, and a totally ebullient kid. I also have a picture of those trees. I want a huge photograph of that. I want to keep that, even as it bubbles forth. A history of nature is an interesting proposition. Barenton Fountain is one f the few to _not_ be Christianized. It stands with its trees and its strange soil, and its unexpectedly clear water, in a historical trajectory. Locmariaquer (and I'll try to include a picture), lives under the crushing weight of its own poignancy, having fallen, being 60' (not a typo) tall.

Poignancy has multiple scales. I couldn't believe our beautiful friend Jose wasn't there this afternoon. I felt audacious in telling David I missed him. But I do. And David understood perfectly, of course. Oliver's sheer joy at being there, and his sweet assurances that all was well were so dear. I don't know that I've ever cried for so many things all at once. The walk away was really hard this time. But a return trip due to a student's forgotten backpack afford me an extra kiss on Oliver's cheeks. We are so lucky. To catch this history as it bubbles up. To be here now, enjoying this wonderful delusion that we have Brittany all to ourselves. Tomorrow, if it is not too muddy (oh please oh please), we raise a megalith. I have the students reading Tim Morton's "poetics of anywhere" section from _The Ecological Thought_. We'll see what bubbles up out of the ground, shall w e?

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