He was asked to draw a picture of his house, but the year one student showed his teacher a drawing of his street. It was a bird’s eye view with an x marks the spot over his home, like a treasure map, he marked the dots.

She came home crying that day, the teacher that is, complaining of social entropy. She had to reprimand the child for not following the task, not drawing his task just as she’d asked.

“What have we come to?” she exclaimed to her husband, “that I must give my energy to the system, to be consumed by maintaining this structure, this wheel that is slowly spinning off its axis!”

He calmed her with listening and love. He told her to continue hopefully, and look up above.

“But as I travel,” she persisted, “where are the lines that I follow? At what point has the wheel come off and have we stopped travelling? Is it only at the edge of disorder that we’ve arrived? What hope is there in that?! How then, my love, how can I continue hopefully? How do I deal with this dear child? I nail out his divergent thinking and reform him like everyone else.

She talked to his parents, the next week. In fact it was time for interviews. They commented that they were worried for him, “he is always in another world, and star-gazing.” His mother explained “His cousins are coming down from Queensland next week, it will good for him to have other children around. Being an only child, he stays in his shell quite a bit.”

But at news the week after, he was vibrant as he always was at school. He talked of his cousins that had been caught in the floods. “They were shipwrecked like Captain Blue and had to stand at the top of the town hall to spy on the cars who travelled down the flood-river ” he said. He told the class his cousins were living with him, while they built another. He said his cousins were like the homeless people in the city but were allowed to stay with him because his mum knew their mum very well, and the streets where he lived weren’t for people but for houses.

She came home again, trying to make sense of that- a suburban child who had sense as an older soul. She sat trying to make sense of the streets that branched in his and her mind, the streets that were filled with people, or houses, or water, or all three. She thought about rebuilding. She thought about the magnitude of damage, and the size of the children.

She thought about her masters work, that she was completing slowly, part time. She felt overwhelmed. She thought about the stars, indeed she looked up above. She understood some scope of what was above her, but had no sense of it at all. She understood some aspects of molecular biology, but the atoms and nano technology she knew nothing of. Again, to her husband, she went to speak at;

“How much am I caught up in grand theories? How much am I caught up amongst intellect? How much of my energy is being consumed to maintain the structure of society? How much of my energy is being consumed to challenge it? How much of this life will be consumed by the next? How much does that impact my decisions?

He listened once, he listened again. He said it would be okay. He told her maybe the wheel kept rolling, but slowly and softly changed. Like the trees that line the streets and turn brown so secretly we don’t even see. “Sometimes”, he said, “it’s important to see. Sometimes”, he said “it’s important to give seeing to someone else.” He told her to continue hopefully, because she would one day arrive at Hope.  And perhaps the year one student had a stronger sense of arriving, and that was how he coped. “Sometimes,” he said, “it’s okay not to know”, and “sometimes, what we don’t know is what helps us to realise that which we do know.”

Sometimes we need a reality check


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