Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Golden Thread

In the evenings we usually go for a big ride. Sometimes only for a mile or less, and sometimes up to five miles. Lately, while on the ride, I have been finding myself identifying wildflowers along the roadside. The beauty of the flowers is hard to resist. I bet you I've learned well over fifteen plant names in the past two weeks. Plants that I've walked and driven by hundreds of times but paid no attention to.

When this first started I was surprised, but then I decided to just go with it. And throughout this process there has been this voice inside my head saying: you've got to check out The Lost Language of Plants, you've got to check out the The Lost Language of Plants. I let it be. I'm reading another book anyway. Then this interview with the author made its way into my email inbox.

This paragraph out of the interview caught my attention:

I never have been happy in a box. Life is not a box (nor a box of cherries either). Life is some living thing that all of us are involved in. So, I dive in to whatever captures my attention. I immerse myself in it, learn to think through that field of knowledge. I have a sense of the book that is calling to me to be written. There is a feel to truth and I follow that feeling, what the poet William Stafford called the golden thread that all writers must follow for their work to be real. That thread, that feeling, leads to everything I study, often through processes that are not linear and that defy rational explanation. I just happen to stop to get gas at this gas station rather than that one and someone there just happens to drop a book in front of me that just happens to be related to what I am immersed in at that moment. I always know something about the topic I am going into but what I know and what is ultimately true are often different. I always learn as I go. Following golden threads is the most interesting kind of education I am aware of. There are no discipline boundaries with golden threads, interrelated data streams from diverse fields are the norm.

I will be checking out the The Lost Language of Plants soon


Filip T. said...

It is interesting to give this phenomena a name. This is how I live and learn most effectively.

The golden thread. I like it!

Buhner's other book, THE SECRET TEACHINGS OF PLANTS has been recommended to me several times. I will have to check it out once I am off my DQ and DJ kick. :)

Curt said...

Hi Filp T,

Yeah, I have been wanting to check out Buhner's work for quite some time now. I will let you know what I think of TLLoP after I check it out from the library.

And on the subject of your Daniel Quinn and Derrick Jensen kick. I've been on the kick for almost a decade now. I don't think I'm ever going to get off from it...:-)