Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Have You Made Oobleck?

We squish our arms elbow-deep into oobleck.  Amazed, we play all morning in this mixture of cornstarch and water. 
Mixing Oobleck

The children invite me to make oobleck, but I've never even heard the word.

"You know--it's oobleck!  1 cup cornstarch and 1/2 cup water!"  These little girls know their science: mixing cornstarch with water creates a bowl of joy with unusual physical properties.  Oobleck functions both as a solid and as a liquid.  When you apply pressure to the mixture (mixing it with your hands, slapping it around), you get a nice ball of dough.  When you let it rest in your hands, that otherwise solid shape melts and oozes like a milkshake.
Little Girls and Science

It's bizarre.  It's addictive.  I find myself manipulating the oobleck with these friends for an hour.  Nevermind that white goop covers the counters and the floors (just let it dry and it sweeps right up).  Nevermind that I have work to do.

It's just so fascinating, this stuff. 

I'm fascinated by objects or places that possess in-between sorts of qualities.  I like transitional states, borderland locations, and things that are both one thing and another at the same time.  I think of my froglet or that estuary.   I think of caterpillars turning into butterflies, autumn leaves changing and falling, and snowflakes forming above me.  Those things that are almost but not yet resonate so deeply with me.
Solid and Liquid Oobleck

It's because I too am almost but not yet.  Half human, half spirit, we all dwell in that mystery of in-between living.  We are almost to heaven, almost to our true home.  In the meantime, I hold this day in my hand, sometimes feeling the hard pressure against it, sometimes feeling the smooth flow of peace in my heart.  Either way, I'm fascinated.


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Journal:  When life feels "almost but not yet," how do I find peace right where I am? 

7 comments:

Lindsey said...

This is fascinating. I, too, am drawn to the liminal, the almost, the in-between. I've heard all about oobleck but never made it myself. Perhaps it's time!
xo

Patricia said...

Can't believe I was a homeschooling mama for 23 years and never made oobleck. One of my grandsons is coming over this afternoon. I'm sure you can guess what we will be doing.

Love the way you think, Heather. Maybe this is why I am drawn to photographing flower buds...to anticipate...to hope for....the beauty that is ready to be revealed.

Katie said...

I make Oobleck with my 2nd graders every March in celebration of Dr. Seuss' birthday after I read them "Bartholomew and the Oobleck". Listening to them try to figure out if it's a solid or a liquid is always entertaining. I love making it as much as my students do.

Anna Barlowe said...

Oh boy, I know that in-between feeling better than some. My life is quite literally trapped somewhere between heaven and earth (see my blog for the strange details), and sometimes I do feel torn between the two. But I remind myself that we are all here for a purpose, and it's important to figure out what that might be and try hard to complete it. There will be plenty of time for forever when it gets here.

Happiness Here said...

We made oobleck in children's church - the kids always loved it. Love the analogy of being caught between almost and not quite.

2bdancing said...

I understand it's also very exciting if you hit it with a hammer.
I guess it's name comes from the reactions of the first two kids ever to touch it. Kid #1: Oooo! Kid #2: Blech!

E.M.B. said...

It really is fun to stretch it around.