The end of the world—a cataclysmic disaster that destroys all life as we know it—has gripped the popular imagination for millennia. And yes, unless our sun happens to find the fountain of youth during its whirling journey through the universe, one day it’s going to burp and fade away, swallowing our little, blue planet as it goes.
But the end, in a way, is nothing new. Studying ancient history reveals so many worlds that have already ended, having lasted for lengths of time I can’t even fathom before falling to dust by murder, wear or cataclysmic disaster, or sometimes simply by falling asleep.
Yet somehow in their deaths, they still survive. Bodies rise from the bogs, pyramids stand against the wind, centuries of once-living culture compacts into a single skull or pottery shard. To walk the beach is to tread on crushed remains from ancient oceans, of beings that once lived and died under the sun.
For me, courses are quite a lot like that—little worlds that rise and fall through the tides of a year or two, leaving parcels of information behind like all other leaky things in the universe. If you listen to me long enough (or pretty much at all) all these bits and bubbles will start oozing out into the conversation and coming alive again, like a virus or a once-dehydrated tardigrade.
Below is a fairly good picture of what I’ve encountered on this tiny, blue planet as it saunters around the sun.
The Blueberry Log, Year 4.5e9
COURSES OF A STUDIOUS NATURE (University Subjects)
I have studied…
Dynamics: Particles & Rigid Bodies * Statics * Vector Analysis
Drawing * Handbuilding * Photography * Sculpture * Wheelthrowing
The Dead Sea Scrolls * New Testament * Old Testament * The Synoptic Gospels
C Programming * Object-Oriented Programming
Art History: Prehistory-Renaissance * English Language & Literature * International Studies * Japanese Culture & Religion * Latin America & the Caribbean * South African Literature * The United States Experience
Circuit Theory * Computer Systems * Electrical Energy Systems * Electronics * Frequency Domain Techniques * Mechanics of Deformable Bodies * Mechatronics * Microprocessors * Orthographic Drawings * Systems & Signals
Christian Marriage * Moral Responsibility * Perspectives on Life & Death * Roman Catholic Social Thought * Theology of Reconciliation & Justice
Ancient Hebrew * Arabic * French * Italian * Voice
Differential Equations and Linear Algebra * Differential & Integral Calculus * Series & Partial Differential Equations * Symmetry
Philosophy & Religion
The Church in the World * Christian Thought: Reformation-Modern * Classical Judaism * The Development of Western Thought * The Evolution of the Western Idea since the 17th Century * Islam * Jesus & Socrates: Faith & Reason * Marian Theology * Philosophy of Religion
Biology * Chemistry * Physics
Grass Roots Organizing *Rural Development
Astronautics & Human Spaceflight * Avian Care & Medicine * Wine (global)
ENDEAVORS OF THE ADVENTUROUS SORT (Experiences)
watched whales * volunteered with horses and special needs riders * been a member of the local aquarium * attended a thoroughbred sale and races * visited alpaca and butterfly farms * photographed a shipwreck * kyaked with a school of dolphins * visited the Taung world heritage site (which is also an abandoned mine) * co-founded a company * conversed with fish in East London * attended a sweat lodge ceremony * had high tea at Mount Nelson * taken lessons in bread baking * bungee jumped * trained in Silat, Malay martial arts * learned a little glassblowing * seen a baboon fight a dog * advocated for fair trade
studied sign language * visited the Badlands * camped at !Khwa Ttu San Education Centre * adopted a sun conure * went on safari in Kruger National Park * kyaked down Sugar Creek, Turkey Run * happened upon the filming of a Bollywood music video * explored the Cango Caves * visited the Valley of a Thousand Hills * eaten Titanic’s last meal * had breakfast with Desmond Tutu * had tea at Leuwenhof, home of the Western Cape Premier * chanted with monks * taught art to children affected by HIV/AIDS * served soup to the mentally-ill and homeless * written papers on Japanese Gardens and historic Chicago buildings (not together) * rescued sea birds * studied wine and viticulture * hiked Table Mountain * visited a polo club
traveled aboard the A380 test flight from Chicago * gone whitewater rafting * studied in a museum’s secret library * attended Zumba classes * rescued a racing pigeon * painted a wall for a children’s community center * taught English literacy to a German hairdresser * launched my name to Mars aboard Insight * raised funds for clean water * walked for AIDS research * relayed for cancer research * studied ballet * volunteered at the local food pantry * helped produce a batch of biofuel * seen the blooming cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. * ‘adopted’ a dolphin * seen the stars in rural Wisconsin * fallen through/broken a window * released Rebel Fires & The Merman’s Mark