Every Day Above Ground (mallorys_camera) wrote,
Every Day Above Ground

The Lamas Learn About Martin Luther King


I’ve been drafting weekly English language lesson plans for the lamas, borrowing from the holiday calendar.

Since January’s three-day weekend is Martin Luther King Day, this week I played them the I Have a Dream speech and downloaded something on Martin Luther King’s life from the Internet.

They had a hard time with “Baptist Church.”

“Well,” I said. “It’s kind of like Tibetan Buddhism and Zen Buddhism. People who do them think they’re not the same. But really, they are the same. So Christianity has all these different variants. Baptist. Presbyterian. Methodist. And they’re really all the same, too.”

They had an even harder time with “German theologian, Martin Luther.”

“Not important!” I said. “Let’s look at this: He skipped 9th grade and 12th grade, attending Morehouse College at the age of 15. Remember? Words can be things! Words can be actions! Words can be descriptions! And if you want to turn an action into a description, you add –ing. So, attending means Martin Luther King attended Morehouse College—“

“In the past?” Norbu asked.

“In the past,” I confirmed.

The prayer flags on the monastery grounds go down to the river. After I finished teaching, I wanted to hike around a bit. But it was just so fucking cold.

Instead I drove into Wappingers and sat for a while in my car, staring at the 1860s row houses with their boarded-up windows.

I don’t get what it is about these forgotten little towns in Nowherelandia that move me so deeply. I didn't grow up there. It’s not as though they can remind me of anything in my own past.


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Tags: hudson river valley, volunteer
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