At A High Cost . . . .


When I was younger and found footing in my woman’s novels, I came across soon to be a favorite writer.  It was a time when the library was my sons and my main excursion to replenish our idea resources.

Marcia  Willett was her name and a favorite book ‘A Week In Winter’  was a delightful and thoughtful awakening to what had been a sleeping knowledge in me.  In a conversation of two women the phrasing I wrote of was this.

‘If someone steps aside from the herd, he is likely to be torn to pieces.  We are all so insecure you see. If you believe differently from me, I either have to question my own beliefs or prove that you are wrong.  Misguided, stupid and ill bred, it really doesn’t matter how I label you as long as I continue to feel complacent and safe.’


Many years ago I read that and today in the culling of too much writing of mine and too much clipping of too much clipping, I came across a Sydney Harris , (a favorite philosopher guru) with the words saying that we fail to reward pursuers of knowledge.  We praise celebrities who entertain and dance and throw a ball but not those who devote their lives to the pursuit of knowledge.

Even now the tears rise as then when I realize I was apologizing for intelligence needing to share the excitement in learning something with a beloved. When reflecting on my immediate response, I was appalled at my lack of gratitude for a gift bringing such grace and life to so many.  Knowing if I saw a child ever apologizing for this rare and beautiful gift, I would pull them by the ear if necessary, out of a situation wanting what was earned by heart’s work and love of learning.

Yet we realize that a home with a parent on the premises who chooses books and music and good talk will produce creative and contributing adults.

The article appeared in the Detroit Free Press on September 16, 1985.  Marcia Willett’s book was published in 2001 in Great Britain.  So the commonality of these thoughts brewed in and among us for several years and languished in my dusty notes to drive me to the ibm machine which remembers their muscle memory in today’s hands which are insensitive.

Survival in a large family was what was a necessity.  Public education was what was destiny and not college.  But furthering my knowledge was my drive and as the family closed for the night, the dance with the sages began. It was an ancient saying that to educate a daughter one educates a family; a son one educates a one.  We must offer this passion for learning to those who would use this gift of mind.

Our eldest said that their growing years were enchanted.  Our middle son said I challenged his thinking every day.  Our youngest pursues me with challenges for constructive detail only the divine carpenter holds.

I have seen knowledge treated as sacred from the gift of mind. It has humbled me greatly.  I am indeed a rich lady.

It Is Time. . .

It comes with a cost.
Learning can rip the heart.
Let the words be carried
to the Ethers and
wrung dry of your tears.

You shout a language foreign
to the ears of him.  You live
nowhere but in your heart
and nowhere but in your mind.
It is time to go to that
small place and bless who you are.

Tears of anguish ask
for acknowledgement.
The words are lost on
the south wind which carry
them north and lost
on the north wind as it
brings them south again.

Your heart is tapped deeply
revealing the Source of who man is.
It is time.  It is time.

It is time he knows this.

(February 12, 1983 journal entry)

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