king’s mouth

A few weeks ago, the kids and I went to the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore to see the exhibit we are inside of in the picture above.  It’s called King’s Mouth and it’s this big foamy cave you climb into and lay down inside and above you there’s a convex mirror encircled with lighted strips and this music that plays, opening like a heartbeat and then changing along with the light show and the light sort of comes toward you and at points you feel like you’re moving through space.  The first time I took my older son to the planetarium and the dome screen did a similar thing, he gripped the arms of the seat and said to me, terrified, “I want to go back to earth now.”  There was nothing close to that this time.  They loved it, and it was a really beautiful time with them, but everyone could see all the strings.  These guys are pretty much fully rooted in reality and it’s kind of a bummer, though I imagine it makes the world a little less confusing.

We are always balancing wonder with doubt, tempering dreams with our desire for certainty.  How absolutely simple life is when you know the answer.  How completely risk-free and organized and predictable (and boring and two dimensional).  Half the time, people only ask questions they know the answer to.  Don’t allow room for wonder, for following that nagging suspicion that we could do somethings differently, that we might be on to something.  But sometimes, sometimes, the universe aligns and you go way out on a limb and you decide you are going to do something because you can feel in your bones that there is magic in the world, that there is some enormous power in something as simple as laughter and always holding a space, whether people show up or not.  That if you do it, eventually they will start showing up regularly, because people want to love each other, want to do better, want to take care of one another and through that will be able to better take care of themselves.  And then, after something like 6 years of toiling and proving and studying and growing toward what you knew all along, you get to saying it in a language that even people who don’t get it will understand (or at least can’t deny). Proof must be provided in the language of the doubter, after all.

But be clear: just because this shit can be explained in this language doesn’t mean it ain’t still magic.

But I know you’re here for a prompt.  We’re headed back to Rattle this day.  Check out this poem, “to levitate” by Cathryn Essinger.  I know you guys hate clicking links.  Do it anyway.  Do it for the kids!  Actually, do it for yourself.  I really like this poem.  And the prompt is to write your child self a list of awesome things to do or believe “before doubt takes hold.”  What did you used to believe was possible?  Think deeply, long and hard, to that feeling of possibility.  Tell me about it.


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