She’s in grade 1 and often when I put her to sleep asks me to tell her something from when I was little. I told her tonight about the time Mrs. Windsor asked us how much water weighed and how I raised my hand to tell her she was wrong. She became excited and agreed with my position, water has no weight, that’s crazy talk. But what if you put it in a cup I asked. She repeated more slowly so I would learn from her water…doesn’t…weigh….anything.
If you tell someone something insightful or practical or wild that in itself is insufficient to be a big deal, a person has to be in a certain way ripe and ready to receive it. One day, when I was in grade 3, Mrs. Windsor was instructing us about measurements and at some point brought up how much water weighs. I confidently interrupted and told her water has no weight to which she replied what if you add it to an empty jar? Took me completely by surprise. Right about then a small seed sprouted a little fruit tree inside me, shaped like little question marks and when you eat them you get suspicious about whatever you believed unchanging and definite.
I ate one one time in the 90s when I lived outside Hamilton and was driving down a country road listening to Bach on CBC and suddenly realized he was playing in four voices and keeping each one melodic and for the previous 20 years I thought nothing in the world could be more modern that freely improvised music. I had to pull over and stop the engine and when I looked at the trees and stars I could tell they already knew all about it.