Birding Lessons and the Teachings of Cicadas
The idea of a knowledge of the "ways" of things and the immediacy, patience, repetition, persistence, and intimacy—the "attention and devotion"—that such knowledge requires, is ecologically, pedagogically, and spiritually vital. It suggests that knowledge of the ways of red-winged blackbirds is not found nestled in the detailed and careful descriptions of birding guides. Rather, such knowledge lives in the living, ongoing work of coming to a place, learning its ways, and living with the unforeseeable consequence that student inevitably become someone in such efforts, someone full of tales to tell, tales of intimacy, full of proper names, particular ventures, bodily memories that are entangled in and indebted to the very flesh of the Earth they want to tell. Mathematics conceived as a living discipline, a living topography, a living place, full of ancestors and kin and living relations, full of tales told and tales to tell.