I’m really not that interested in water turning to wine, oil burning way beyond its shelf life or deities appearing in trees. The real mysteries and miracles in life are much closer and to me, much more interesting.
For example, trying to rummage through the cellar of my brain and dig out the Spanish rhyme I used to use when I first started teaching regularly in Spain in the 90’s and aughts. The old outlines are still on my computer, but everything before 2004 can’t be opened in my current set-up. Going to Youtube for Spanish nursery rhymes was simply depressing— nothing much but contrived cute little songs with ugly cartoons playing down to kids’ intelligence and aesthetic. I did finally write to my colleague Sofia, who I know will know exactly what rhyme I’m thinking of. But before she could write back, this happened:
After a few days of digging in the dark of the brain’s memory and coming up blank, I was at lunch with my hosts describing my dilemma. They offered a few possibilities, but none rang a bell. Five minutes later, this phrase popped out of my mouth:
“Pin pon fuera!”
It was the first beckoning glimpse of that old memory peeking its head out from its hiding place. I have no idea where it came from or why it appeared at that moment, but was simply amazed that it did. Three minutes later, my companion blurted out:
“A la era verdadera…”
and the game was on! It took only another two minutes for “Pito pito gorgorito” to jump up and voila!, there was the whole rhyme in all its splendor!!!
“Pito pito gorgorito
Donde vas tu tan bonito?
A la era verdadera
Pin pon fuera!”
My friends, the human mind is mysterious and incomprehensible to our daylight-hours-thinking-brain. You can announce the search, but you can’t look directly for it. You just start something churning far below the surface of conscious thought and get out of the way, with some confidence that it will appear. It’s the same process that leads to scientific breakthroughs, artistic inspirations, solutions to your problems. The conscious, controlling ego hates that it can’t be wholly in charge, but it’s a necessary reminder that the dream life is essential to the conversation, one that takes place in whispered dark corners and runs away from too-bright light and muscular imposition. If we have faith, the gurgling, beautiful whistle (Pito pito gorgorito tan bonito) will arise and come out (Pin, pon fuera!).
After lunch, we did a rollicking body percussion version of the poem that I made up walking back to my class with 12 lovely souls in Ourense, Galicia. That is the miracle and mystery I am here to celebrate.