Do you know the difference between a snake and a legless lizard? I don’t. But when I was six years old, I knew all about it and would have been very happy to teach you everything I knew. That’s because I attended a class that summer called “Creepy Crawly Critters” at a local science museum. I remember how there were two rooms that were just full of all kinds of critters that we got to learn about through watching them and sometimes even holding them and feeding them. The legless lizard was a favorite of mine. It is not the same thing as a snake, y’know.
I can still feel in my body how my six year old self was just tingly with the excitement that each of these creatures had something to teach me about who it was and how it made its way in the world.
Recently I felt that same nearly overwhelming tingle of the pure joy of learning in an unexpected place: the basement of a house that might soon be ours.
After decades and decades of being renters, my husband and I are in the process of buying our first home. Going through the not-yet-ours property last week with a home inspector, I found myself furiously scribbling down notes. So many systems: electric, heating, hot water, fresh water, sewage. And so many physical structures: stone foundation, brick walls, masonry columns and joists and beams.
And then in the upper left-hand corner of my page of scribbling is a circle in which I scrawled, “Lifelong learning!!!”
That tingle of excitement I felt about learning the difference between the snake and the legless lizard? It showed up again as I learned the difference between PVC and CPVC pipes. They are not the same thing, y’know.
Our real estate agent and our home inspector and our insurance agent and all the other people we’ve called upon in the last weeks have been amazing teachers. There is so much wisdom and knowledge that people in all walks of life carry around with them; they become my teachers in the moment that I listen and ask and try to download all that they have to teach.
Look around you, my friends. Every little (or big) thing you see is itself an entire encyclopedia, a living book begging to be opened and explored, yearning to be a door to whole new worlds.
Tell me about the learning adventures you take in your everyday life.