As you have probably noticed, I have written a lot about Buckminster Fuller and quoted him on many blog pages. Why? Because, it has seemed to me, since the first day I heard him speak at least four decades ago, that he, more than anyone I had ever heard, was:

a complete truth-teller; someone to be trusted.
a person who could see the BIG, BIG picture.
someone who was brilliant enough to handle all the facts.
a doer, not a persuader.
someone who made things, invented things, and provided solutions.
a wise, benevolent, and gentle guide into mankind’s challenging and uncharted future.

I was shocked the other day when a business associate of mine whom I totally respect and on whom I confidently rely for advice, told me that he had never heard of Fuller. A cold shiver went up my spine. “We’re in deeper trouble than we realize,” I thought.

So here I go again. Somebody’s got to do it.

I’d like to share his words:

“This all brings us to a realization of the enormous educational task which must be successfully accomplished right now in a hurry in order to convert man’s spin-dive toward oblivion into an intellectually mastered power pullout into safe and level flight of physical and metaphysical success, whereafter he may turn his Spaceship Earth’s occupancy into a universe exploring advantage. If it comprehends and reacts effectively, humanity will open an entirely new chapter of the experiences and the thoughts and drives thereby stimulated.”

This sense of urgency, this awareness of our nose-dive toward our complete disappearance as a species, is what drives me to boldness.

Today I read on BRAIN PICKINGS, (a fabuloully wonderful website, in case you haven’t discovered it) a few lines that sum up what I am now feeling. They were written about Elizabeth Gilbert, the powerful author of Eat, Pray, Love. 

“The human gift, she says, is the willingness to march forward – – in terror and transcendence, and often alone – – even though we too flinch beneath the shadow of the unknown.”

All I know for sure is that on this day, the very day before my own book is about to be published and sent forth into the world, I am nonetheless still willing to “march forward in terror.”


At last!! I am back!  I sincerely apologize for the long absence. Here is why I’ve been gone:

One day, all of my blogs simply disappeared. I could have cried. I had spent two years  thinking, researching, collecting ideas, ferreting out information, writing and rewriting.  Suddenly, it was all for naught.   Even worse, I was at a critical juncture and couldn’t spend any time at all to try to fix the problem. (Not to mention that I didn’t have a single clue about what was wrong or how to go about fixing it.)

I was up to my ears in deadlines with my publisher, trying hard to get in a position to actually print the book I had spent years writing. There was simply no time to tackle the sad state of affairs with the blog.

Then one day, I realized that I had at last completed every single task on the book. Ahhhhhhh! (You could have heard the relief all the way from Tennessee to Alaska if you had been listening.)

I jumped on the blog problem, and within two days, I had it solved. All those words were still in the cloud. (Oh, blessed cloud, wherever you are, whatever you are!)

The book is now at the printer and I am told I could be holding a copy in my hand by next Monday. Now that warms my heart, let me tell you. . .

I have big plans for that book. I am hoping that it will open the doors that will lead to the funding of this project. As soon as I have it, it will be posted on the website and you can surely order one if you are eager to read it. A friend told me “it’s the best non-fiction page turner I have ever read!” (Actually, I still get truly excited when I read it myself, if that tells you anything.)

In the meantime, I continue to work and work on different aspects of what is surely the world’s most fascinating project. Some days I am all into geology with visions of geodes, volcanoes and sub-Atlantic trenches going through my head. Other days, I am so excited about Luna Moths and their incredible pheromone system that I can barely resist stopping strangers on the street to talk about it.

There are simply not enough hours in the day to delve into all the wonderful caches of strange facts I wish to discover, and then think about how a learning center could present them to eager, still curious young minds.

More to follow . . .Stay tuned!




He comes each Tuesday afternoon to spend an hour with me being tutored.  It is one of my very best hours of the week. (And I live a deliciously interesting and exciting life.)   We get his third grade homework knocked out as fast as we can: quotients, dividends, divisors and polynomials.) Then we talk about everything in the world, going from one subject to another as our burning interests dictate. Sitting on the front porch enjoying the perfect weather, we discuss poison ivy, bees, Einstein, whaling ships, Nantucket, children’s books, art, ants, baleen, Thomas Edison, and South America.  He is brighter than the spring sunshine – – quick, eager and still so, so  curious.

When his “nanny” picks him up, he says “Oh no!  My hour is up already?” I feel the same way.

“The soul is healed by being with children.” – – Fyodor Dostoevsky

Makes Sense To Me

Luther Burbank, one of the most outstanding botanists who ever lived, was also keenly interested in the nurturance of children. He had some surprising but fascinating things to say:

“No boy or girl should see the inside of a schoolhouse until at least ten years old…every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, water-bugs, tadpoles, frogs, mud-turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, chestnuts, trees to climb, brooks to wade in, water-lilies, woodchucks, bats, bees, butterflies, various animals to pet, hay-fields, pinecones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries and hornets; and any child who has been depived of these has been deprived of the best part of his education.”

Training of the Human Plant, 1906.




At home, alone with our computers, it seems that we surely have all the information at our fingertips that we might ever need. Someone recently asked me why on earth we need “schools” of any kind. Have you begun to wonder that too?

Carl Sagan said, “We’ve arranged a global civilization in which most crucial elements. . . profoundly depend on science and technology. We have also arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. This is a prescription for disaster.” John Naisbitt said, “We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge.”

Information has to do with facts, data, visualizations, specifics and organization for a purpose. We must have it to gain knowledge, but it is NOT knowledge.

What is knowledge? How does it differ from information?

Knowledge, has to do with experiences, skills, understandings, truths, principles and the power to do or make. Knowledge requires daily interaction with stuff and with people.  It has to do with patterns noticed, examined and discussed. It has to do with models that make it useful.  It requires something from the persons involved:  the ability to think, to verify and to analyze.

Helen Keller said, ” Knowledge is love and light and vision.



Recently, it seems that my mind keeps drifting back to the brilliant insights of visionary, George B. Leonard, author of Education and Ecstasy.

He suggests three basic assumptions which I deeply believe are true but are generally unknown and unacknowledged by most of the population:

1. The human potential is infinitely greater than we have been led to believe.

2. Learning is sheer delight (when not devoid of the ecstatic moment).

3. Learning itself is life’s ultimate purpose.

“What we fail to acknowledge, Leonard states,  is that every child starts out as an Archimedes, a Handel, a Nietzsche.  The eight-month-old who succeeds in balancing one block on another has made a connection no less momentous for him than Nietzsche’s.”

And then Leonard quotes Einstein: “It is in fact nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry. . . It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.”

Leonard then penned these beautiful and powerful words, which perhaps  speak to me deeply after weeks in a frozen landscape:

“And yet, life and joy cannot be subdued.  The blade of grass shatters the concrete.  The spring flowers bloom in Hiroshima. . . ”




New England children’s book Illustrator Tasha Tudor was a dear friend of mine with whom I corresponded for decades. On one of my visits to her wonderful home, I met the great, great grandson of Nathanial Hawthorne, Mr. Benjamin Deming, and discovered that he and I had in common a passionate love for the book Education and Ecstasy by George B. Leonard.

Tonight, in preparation for a special Valentine tea time, I was reading a letter I had written to Tasha in 1978 in which I told her what a pleasure it had been to meet the kind, elderly gentleman and discuss Leonard’s book with him.  In the letter I shared the following quote from the book which I had all but forgotten but which seems even more needed today than it did when I first read it:

“. . . a faster, more specific, more positive remedy is needed to reduce aggression as well as competition and acquisition. The remedy already is available. It appears to us in the form of an alternative reinforcer that will stir the blood and senses, that will make aggression merely uninteresting. It is joy, delight, ecstasy, the ancient, potent cure so long feared by Civilization, now so specifically and obviously prescribed. Joy resides within the self and is the most relevant of reinforcers.

“Just as many people consider peace simply the absence of war, others think of peacefulness as the absence of aggressiveness. But that is seeking substance in a vacuum. To oppose war or racial hatred by signing petitions and marching in protest may be useful. But those who really want to end these evils might better spend their energy in building situations that are more engrossing, that elicit more of the human potential, that excite the ecstasy in humankind. And those who really want to reduce aggression of all kinds may seek not to work out more punishments against it, but to replace it by creating the conditions of ecstasy. The person who has learned to seek and find intrinsic joy has no time, no desire for aggression.”

OK.  I’m pouring my energy into creating those “engrossing situations” and “conditions of ecstasy.”  Anyone out there see fit to join me?

The fact is that every day the joys of discovery, curiosity, and creativity are largely denied to at least 49 million elementary and high school students in the U. S. alone. Are the decision makers who insist on and support this outrage  hiding their faces in shame?




Recently, because of the time required for Hamilton Learning Foundation work, I had been considering giving up one of my favorite hobbies:  playing my hammered dulcimer. (Boo hoo!)   The day after my last successful and fun performance, I stumbled upon this fascinating video about the effects of playing music upon the human brain.  This puts an entirely different light on it.

Never again will I even consider giving up my music making, which always brings great joy and pleasure.  The video shows what happens when musicians make music. These scientific studies and the ground-breaking imaging technology are guaranteed to drop your jaw.   It takes awhile to load but it’s well worth the time.  (Scroll down to the video box.)

It also has enormous ramifications for patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s who have recently been observed greatly improving when hearing music through headphone sets.




Recently, someone was proofing my book manuscript and came across an important error in my math.  None of my calculators do billions and trillions, so finally I set about the task manually, filling the page with zeros and more zeros until the right answer could be carefully verified.  The result was not only more appalling but truly staggering.

The amount the U. S. government spends on public education is not “just” more than $1 trillion every three years but actually  $2.55 trillion.

Just ask any mother about her child’s bright mind during pre-school days and  you will realize that we are spending this kind of money to de-genius all our nation’s children.

“Children start school as question marks and leave as periods.” – – – Neil Postman



How satisfying to enter January again in a burrow of privacy, isolation, rest, regular hours and true (if slow) productivity – – away from the busy and distracting frenzy of December!

Progress and forward momentum that I can cause and see strengthens positive expectations.  A simple diet of hot soups and teas brings balance and well-being.  There is time to reflect, adjust habits, take up life-giving practices.  The crystalline cold seems to bring clarity and purity of  mind and soul. I revisit my resolutions and feel excitement. This project (of the learning center) was launched one cold January black dawn, I remind myself. A new goal has presented itself to my consciousness that will greatly enhance and support this one. I feel resolute.

“People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than those who don’t.”  Anthony Robbins