Three Big Questions

Cartoon by J. Best
Circa 1947. I was about four years old.

One day I asked my mother, “Mommy, can I dig a hole in the backyard?”

She responded like many mothers in those days: “You wait till your father gets home!”

Well, actually, she didn’t say that; but, yes, many mothers did, and rarely with a pleasant, positive voice.

And so it began. With shovel taller’n me in hand, I set out on this grand expedition to dig a hole “all the way to China,” as the myth went in those days, in my backyard.

Sixty years later, when I drive by that tiny house in southeast Mason City, Iowa, I can still see my tiny self digging that tiny hole, my first excursion into “What’s down there?” the answer I gave my mother when she asked, “Why, Jack?”

I didn’t know it then, but all my life has been about finding the answers to that BIG question: “What’s down there?” Geology!

The second BIG question also arrived before 1950: “What’s up there?” Astronomy! So, whilst some, many, most people searched for Heaven ‘n Hell, I found Earth and Cosmos.

The third BIG question came later in life and was prompted by my lifelong love of learning and my 30 year career as an earth science teacher:

“What’s education, learning, schooling, knowledge, wisdom, etc?”

The original answer was very long, but over the years I finally whittled it to four short, simple words:


Derrick Jensen: “We have been too kind to those who are destroying the planet. We have been inexcusably, unforgivably, insanely kind.” I’ve tried to be kind, polite, gentle, but few are listening, few hear, few care, few see…

Our survival as a species depends on what we do now, today, not tomorrow; whether we continue on our current path to destruction by trying to control Earth and all life in it, on it, around it, and beyond it, or whether we choose instead to control ourselves. It’s your choice. Decide!

That little hole I dug as a child barely scratched the surface.

I’m trained in geology, a Master’s Degree in Earth Science and a Bachelor’s Degree in English. One of my favorite geology professors always challenged me: “Jack, look at the BIG picture.” I got it, John, I got it! And as amateur astronomer, amateur geologist, and professional educator, I saw both the BIG picture and the tiny, but highly magnified views of the Cosmos.

Folks, digging holes — ripping, tearing, shredding — in short, destroying Mother Earth for the sake of a few more $$$$ (read Capitalism…read greed!) just isn’t the way we Homo sapiens (Homosaps) should live on this perfect Paradise, Earth!

And saturating the night sky with unholy light every night, all night, for a few more $$$$ of profit and power, is not how we Homosaps should live under Father Sky!

And education, schooling, learning, knowledge, wisdom…? Ask Questions! Seek Answers!

Earth And Sky First In Things, Thoughts, Deeds, Decisions!

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