In Chocolate City this weekend to march across the stage in cap and gown to receive my MSLIS at CUA (which I actually received last October by mail, but THIS is the annual ceremony). Several of us who started together in 2013 will be finishing together, a community of learners.
In this week’s submission we are to address, among other things, community learning as an invasive species from the rhizomatic perspective we have been discussing. My first thoughts go to my garden that I planted too soon. Late frosts killed the early sprouts, but the weeds, some them actually quite beautiful, and possibly edible in a tossed salad, keep on sprouting and running and sending their roots deeply (and quickly) into the freshly turned topsoil mound. Are these weeds the invasive species, crowding out the seeds I’ve planted and sucking all the nutrients from the soil, or are my heirloom seeds the true invaders? We won’t push that too far because we know the answer to that question.
I live in a neighborhood called Foggy Bottom, so named because it was built on top of a malaria-infested swamp. Many people say it is still a swamp, though concrete and asphalt cover all the traces. But sometimes, late at night when everything is quiet and still, you can smell it, the swamp beneath us… So, is the swamp the invasive ecosystem, or are my neighbors and me the invaders?
But we digress. One of our colleagues posted a link to a site explaining the relationship between the history of architecture and the future of website design. This resonated with me, being an information architect by training. A few weeks ago someone from a different learning community posted a link to an article about a person who wanted to live inside a Frank O’Hara poem.
Some architecture that would be! (I’ll come back later and install all the links.). Then, last week, it all came together for me with a post to a librarian list describing the significance of words to website design.
From architecture to website design to poetry, and from education to gardening, the true invasive species is the collection of words, in a different configuration than before, that sets off a thought mutation that replicates itself and creates a new and different ecosystem than before. I know, it’s all a gross over-simplification, and I have probably left off some important steps. But you see the pattern. Maybe. As a community of learners (and teachers), we may be the invasive species, or maybe more appropriately, we may provide the mutative spark that moves our students (and ourselves) to the next level of thought and thinking.
I am going to miss these weekly blogposts when #Rhizo15 ends next week. Maybe let’s keep it going?
p.s. This e.e. cummings poem seems somehow appropriate to this discussion, “when faces called flowers float out of the ground,” (best read aloud):
when faces called flowers float out of the ground
and breathing is wishing and wishing is having-
but keeping is downward and doubting and never
-it’s april(yes,april;my darling)it’s spring!
yes the pretty birds frolic as spry as can fly
yes the little fish gambol as glad as can be
(yes the mountains are dancing together
when every leaf opens without any sound
and wishing is having and having is giving-
but keeping is doting and nothing and nonsense
-alive;we’re alive,dear:it’s(kiss me now)spring!
now the pretty birds hover so she and so he
now the little fish quiver so you and so i
now the mountains are dancing, the mountains)
when more than was lost has been found has been found
and having is giving and giving is living-
but keeping is darkness and winter and cringing
-it’s spring(all our night becomes day)o,it’s spring!
all the pretty birds dive to the heart of the sky
all the little fish climb through the mind of the sea
all the mountains are dancing;are dancing)
postscript #2. I traveled to Ramadi in 2008 with a CODEL as part of my supervisory responsibilities. We had won the peace, or so we convinced ourselves, even though we on the civilian side all knew the “surge” was a crock. Anyway, I am a bit saddened today that Ramadi has fallen to ISIS, though it has absolutely nothing to do with me or my life. I am still saddened.
On the good news side, I was happy to see so many of my classmates over the weekend, graduating together under the hot May sun. Many have remained in the DC area, but many have returned home, or to their alma maters, all over. We are spreading out like little rhizomes, tending to rhizomatic libraries that in turn spread out through books and things throughout the universe of information. Here’s another image, feast your eyes!