What is Learning?

no gutterQuestion: Define the purpose of guttering on a house.
Answer: Choose the response that represents your thinking.

a. to catch rain water coming off the roof
b. to catch and direct rain water deflected by a roof out away from a vulnerable foundation
c. to correct an imposition
d. to protect a preconception

We have a gutter on our house that is a bit askew in one place over the porch and near the front steps. Consequently the rain will come off the room slip by the gutter in that spot and pour straight down. This has clearly been the case over the years prior to our occupation as the front walk has begun to sink a bit and now pools water right in front of the porch. My “fix” has been to insert a stick underneath the roof lip to adjust the drip line to meet the guttering in the right place as the guttering itself will not adjust properly. This works, but the pooling persists, naturally, due to the current sloping state of the ground.

I moved this stick the other day as my son and I were headed out for school (a ten-minute walk), a minor adjustment made by a shrewd handyman.

As we crossed the road my son asked me about this. Why? You tell me. I don’t know. Guess. You were doing something to the gutter. Yes. What? I don’t know. What is a gutter, that is, what is its purpose on the house? To collect the rain. Why? I don’t know. Where does the rain go without the gutter on the house? Straight off the roof and into the ground. What’s wrong with that? I don’t know. Are houses built so that their “bottom” sits right on the ground? I don’t know. Is ours? No. What is it built on. A wall? Yes. Why? I don’t know. Why are there gutters? C’mon, Dad!

Why can’t you just tell me? Why won’t I just tell you? Ugh.

What is the Bill of Rights? What? What is the Constitution? What is the sunrise? What is “an apple a day”? What is the Bible, the Quran, the Vedas, the Analects? Dad, what are you talking about? What the heck are Vedas? Foundations.

What formed the Grand Canyon? A river. How? Um… What is a river? Dad!!!

What happens when it rains on city streets? What do you mean? When the rain falls on our yard where does the water go? In the ground. Can it go in the ground when it hits our roof? No. Can it go in the ground when it hits our streets? No. Where does the water go that falls on the streets? The sewer? Yes, through those storm drains. There’s a lot going on underground to make what is above ground work and persist. What happens if there are no storm drains and no sewers? I don’t know…road rivers. And? I don’t know. What formed the Grand Canyon? Hmmm.

What happens to a sand castle when the tide rises over it? What’s that got to do with it? Well? I guess it ruins it. Right. Water makes stuff happen whether as falling drizzle, rising tide or rushing torrent.

Why do we want to keep the water away from the wall?

Why are their gutters? Because there are houses. Without houses there are no gutters

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. Without streets, without houses, without gutters, without sewers…Just rain on the ground.

Hey, what about a rain barrel? Yes, what about a rain barrel? It doesn’t just take away water. Good.

Question: What is a cistern?

a. a big rain barrel
b. a big hole in the ground
c. a way to collect rain water for use
d. a functional representation of a way of thinking.

Question: What is learning?

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