Friday, July 15, 2005

Conversation and place

Wednesday night we had a long wait for the ferry home as we arrived back from a long trip just at refueling time. I took Rowan and Gareth (Beric was alseep) for a walk along the seawall and down the visiting vessel pier. They had a marvelous time running up and down the metal gangway making it reverberate to their footsteps. They were laughing their heads off--to the great amusement of all passersby. While i was watching them I found that my thoughts were drawn back to the week before when I had walked in the same place while having a conversation with a friend.

We had used some of the physical features of the place to illustrate some of the points of a complex idea. I found that as I approached those features again, the ideas we had connected to them, sprang strongly to mind. This put me in mind of the Aboriginal concepts in T.C.McLuhan's, The Way of the Earth. The Australian Aboriginies see the landscape as imbued with sacredness--teachings, songs, spirits, ancestors. Every rock, stream, tree, vine, gully represents a unique and essential concept. It was interesting to experience place as a mnemonic device--as a key to deep learning--and the learning will also always be attached to the person who shared it with me. The visiting vessel pier will now always 'hold' this deep concept for me. adds a whole new dimension to the landscape.

I am appreciating the richness and depth that McLuhan's book is adding to my experience. It is a rare privilege to be invited into such different ways of experiencing the world.

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