Thursday, April 24, 2008

I Break for Birds!

Pamela can be pretty pathetic when she has a cold. Today, she took two naps, and Pamela never naps! She also spit up some mucus on her shirt in the afternoon. I canceled school for her and spend a good deal of the day reading David's books (to prepare for his narrations). The weather was gorgeous, so I perched myself on the back porch rocker with camera in hand to catch my feathered friends and others on film. I saw a gecko (green anole), house finch, blue jay, female northern cardinal, ruby-throated hummingbird, neighborhood cat, and eastern gray squirrel. In between animals, I squeezed in two chapters of The Birth of Britain

I sat in awe of all the beauty before me, recalling what I learned in the movie Expelled and a passage from Unshakable Faith (a biography about Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver). How can you not see God in the miracle of nature?
In 1907, a group of Carver's agriculture students who enjoyed his class commentaries on the Creator, asked him to organize a Sunday evening Bible study to be held between the end of supper and the beginning of evening chapel. Carver gladly agreed and held the first session in a room at the Carnegie Library on campus. Though the thirty-five minutes after Sunday supper was one of the few unstructured times in the students' entire week, fifty or so boys came the first night to hear Carver's presentation on the creation story, complete with maps, rock and plant samples, and other illustrations.

In spite of his experience and education, Carver took the same back-to-basics approach to Bible study as he did in explaining cowpeas to a farmer who had grown cotton all his life. He preached messages that were as easy to grasp as the lessons in his old McGuffey speller, the precious blue-backed book his mother had somehow gotten for him. He could almost life the essence of his religious belief from selections in the speller such as "The Cool Shade":
The grass is soft to our feat, and the clear brook washes the roots of the trees. The sheep and cows can lie down to sleep in the cool shade, but we can do better, we can praise the great God who made us. He made the warm sun, and the cool shade; the trees that grow upward, and the brooks that run along . . . All that live get life from God. He made the poor man as well as the rich man. He made the dark man as well as the fair man . . . All that move on the land are his; and so are all that fly in the air, and all that swim in the sea. . .
After three months, attendance at the professor's Bible class topped a hundred; eager participants wolfed down their supper so they could get to the library early and get a good seat. Carver's optimistic, beneficent view of the world presented religion in a way some students had never seen. One later remembered his first night in the class: "For the first time in my life I was witnessing no gloom surrounding the Bible. I began to feel as I had back home when we went to a candy-pulling party--happy that I had come." (pages 249-250)

1 comment:

momof3feistykids said...

This is fascinating! I would like to learn more about George Washington Carver. And your pictures are beautiful, of course.