Archive for January, 2022

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Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts

January 27, 2022

What a gift the glacier left

The word watershed (noun) means a time when an important change takes place. Over the years Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts, located in Newcastle, Maine has shifted and grown as changes were needed and I’d say most, if not all, were important to the organization. At its inception the focus was on bringing artists together to learn and create. And, for many years Watershed has offered professional development for educators, many of them Maine K-12 visual art teachers.

Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts story started thousands of years ago. There is an abundance of glacial marine clay from the mountains to the sea because at one point Maine was covered by a giant glacier. Watershed is located in Newcastle, a place that has an abundance of clay with a blue-green tinge. Clay can be found throughout our state along banks of rivers and streams and also in fields. Sometimes it takes time to locate; it can be very pure or filled with other components that need to be picked and sifted out. Fortunately, one of the resources that Watershed provides for teachers is a video depicting the exploration to find clay.

This blog post tells the story of Watershed with several topics; history, philosophy, educational opportunities, audience, pandemic – ups and downs, changes underway, and supporting Watershed. Some of the blog content is taken directly from Watershed’s website; some is provided by the founders, teachers who have taken workshops, artist working at the center, and some from staff. A great big thanks to Claire Brassil, Watershed’s Outreach & Communications Director for her assistance with this post.

Original studio space

HISTORY

The history of Watershed begins with the geological gift of clay found along the banks of local rivers in midcoast Maine. For much of the 19th century, the local community relied on vital income from the manufacturing of waterstruck brick (so called because it was made from a wet mixture of clay and water). Waterstruck brick had lasting historical appeal, and in the 1970s an attempt was made to re-establish its manufacture on the site that is now the Watershed campus in Newcastle. While the brick business folded after a year, a group of artists became inspired to make use of the abandoned factory and the tons of local marine clay left at the site.

In 1986, Margaret Griggs, George Mason, Lynn Duryea and Chris Gustin collaborated on a new vision for the brick-making factory—as a place for clay artists to live and work in community. The open layout of the facility encouraged the artists to approach their work with a new vigor and awareness, and the seeds for what would become Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts took hold.

Founders George Mason, Lynn Duryea and Chris Gustin

During Watershed’s early years, small groups of 10-12 artists would spend the summer living and working together on the campus. The first residents formed connections and friendships in a space that provided opportunities to create without hierarchy. Artists developed their personal work and envisioned new possibilities for a creative community. Watershed soon began to attract artists from far corners of the world who sought a creative environment in which to engage and explore. Today, more than 100 artists a year come to Watershed to create and connect with like-minded makers.

I’ve been fortunate to know Ceramic Artist George Mason for many years. In 1987 he created a Percent for Art Project at the new school building where I was teaching in Union. He is an amazing, thoughtful and kind artist. When I asked George what his vision was when he first came together with his colleagues, this was his response:

You know, this all started among friends inviting friends. We sensed a creative opportunity to find out what might unfold by just living and working together with no aesthetic agenda or expectation of result. Even before the name Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts came into being after the first season, this place was already a refuge apart from career; where the magic of relationship and creativity had the space to spark the unexpected.

PHILOSOPHY

Central to Watershed’s philosophy is a belief that the unexpected sparks creativity and that new people, ideas and spaces nurture the evolution of artistic practice. Our dual mission is to provide artists with time and space to explore ideas with clay; and to promote public awareness of the ceramic arts. Through residencies, workshops, public events, talks and exhibitions, Watershed supports the process and work of clay artists from around the country and world.

This video on youtube is very informative.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES, YES FOR TEACHERS

Watershed offers educational programs and resources for grades K-12 art teachers and students of all ages. From workshops and classroom-based experiences, to professional development and online tutorials, Watershed works to support ceramic art educators and the next generation of ceramists.

Watershed provides professional development opportunities; workshops, residencies, and resources. Teachers hone their clay education skills, develop curricula, and connect with other educators from around the state. Watershed provides newly created online tutorials, Digging & Processing Wild Clay and Raku Firing, developed by Teaching Artist Malley Weber.

Teaching Artist Malley Weber who created educational videos for Watershed

Upcoming workshops
Mold Making & Slip-Casting, March 3 – 4, 2022
Sgraffito Technique, March 25, 2022

Long time Teaching Artist and Maine Arts Leadership Initiative Leader, phase 6, Tim Christensen is teaching the Sgraffito Technique workshop. Tim’s thoughts on Watershed:

“Watershed has been so important to my development as an artist and teacher. We’re incredibly fortunate to have this facility here, in Maine. It serves as a gathering and sharing place for all of the acquired knowledge of the American, and to some extent the international, ceramic scene, at the same time as providing world class studio facilities and learning opportunities. If we think of art as a language, and the different techniques and styles available to us as our vocabulary,  working through Watershed allows me to say an entire range of things that I would be otherwise unable to express through my artwork. Having Watershed available to me in Maine means I have the opportunity to say anything I can conceive with clay.”

Winthrop Middle School Art Teacher Lisa Gilman commented after the workshop she attended:

“Watershed nourishes the whole artist. They provide space and time for an artist to grow. They support the artist’s mind, body and soul. Watershed is a rare gem in today’s world. Not once all week did I miss technology or really even think of it. I was able to truly connect and grow as an artist and engage in deep thoughtful art making. Pure magic!” 

Vinalhaven’s K-12 art teacher, Heather White, comment:

“I’ve participated in countless professional development opportunities over the years, and my time spent at Watershed ranks at the very top of the list. The instructor and everyone on the Watershed staff was knowledgeable and encouraging, I got a lot accomplished in a short time, I’m going back to my classroom with new and fresh ideas, everyone I met was fun and friendly, and the food was amazing! Hopefully every art teacher in the state has an opportunity to go at some point!”

Teaching Artist Malley Weber demonstrates to a session with art teachers

AUDIENCE

Watershed’s audience is wide and varied. From artists who have different focus to teachers looking for learning opportunities to communities members who appreciate and wish immerse themselves and support ceramic programming. Some of listed below.

  • Artists who can work independently in a clay studio and come from Maine, around the country, or abroad take part in our residency program. We aim to foster community and connection among practicing artists at all stages of their careers, from students and recent graduates to established professionals looking for an opportunity to connect with other ceramists. Scholarships are available for all populations. For example in 2017 The Zenobia Fund was established for BIPOC artists, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)
  • Artists with some experience in clay who are looking to further their skills and knowledge. Guest artist and kiln firing workshops are available.  
  • Maine K-12 educators and students. The teacher education program prioritizes skill-building and technique-sharing in clay for Maine’s art educators. Teachers know their students best and can tailor what they learn at Watershed to suit their particular needs and interests. The teacher sessions also provide an opportunity for art educators who usually work solo to connect and collaborate. 

Watershed offers some programs for student groups as well. Art classes come to campus to learn about Raku firing. 

  • Ceramic art lovers & appreciators. While the bulk of our programs prioritize hands-on learning for artists, Watershed offers opportunities for the public to learn more about and appreciate ceramic work via exhibitions, artist talks, special events, and Salad Days, our annual fundraiser and celebration of ceramic work. 

PANDEMIC – UPS and DOWNS

In person Watershed programming was on hold during the summer of 2020 due to the pandemic. However, the timeline for the building of the new studio (see more under ‘changes underway’ below) was pushed forward and completed more quickly since the campus was quiet.

New ways for artists to create and connect became a priority and the following are some of the programs developed:

  • Online gatherings for artists around topics that mattered to them. For example a partnership was formed with The Color Network and Ayumi Hori to facilitate online conversations for artists who focused on racial equity, economic parity, and creativity during Covid-19.
  • Kiln firing opportunities for Maine artists during the summer were available since because they’re usually in constant use by artists-in-residence.
  • An outdoor sculpture exhibition called “Outstanding in the Field” (details under “past exhibitions”) supported clay artists and offered the public an opportunity to safely view work outdoors.  
  • A series of video tutorials for K-12 teachers and students (and others), created by teaching artist Malley Weber, on digging wild clay, processing wild clay, and raku firing.

CHANGES UNDERWAY and NEXT STEPS

During the last 20 years or so Watershed has been able to maintain and upgrade some of the facilities on the property. They built and fully insulated artist cabins, built a kiln shed, and updated Thompson Hall to name a few changes.

Phase 1, 2015-17: Included project planning, a feasibility student and conceptual facility designs. From this first phase action has taken place and so many wonderful and much needed changes have occurred.

Phase 2, 2018-19: A beautiful historic building, the Joan Pearson Watkins House is located about a quarter mile down the road from the main campus. Watershed purchased the house and the accompanying 20 acres, which abut the land that leads to the studio. It was renovated and restored and holds Watershed’s Barkan Gallery, which offers year-round exhibition, lecture, and event space. Watershed’s administrative offices and retail shop are also located in the house.

Phase 3, 2020: Studio Annex provides climatized, flexible space for adjunct programming and material and equipment storage.

Phase 4, 2021-21: Windgate Studio is a 7,500 square foot studio, weatherized and ADA-compliant, supporting an expanded residency and workshop season. Features include a state-of-the-art filtration and ventilation system, spacious glaze area, custom spray booth, plaster room, and a single-level floor plan offering a seamless transition between studio and kilns. 

  • Supports artists working on commissions or large scale projects.
  • Brings (inter)nationally-known guest artists to lead workshops.
  • Provides opportunities for student groups to make and fire work.
  • Enables Watershed to collaborate with partner organizations.
  • Offers space for artists to create and connect throughout the year.
  • Tap into limitless potential!
Recently opened Windgate Studio

Phase 5: Campus Commons design and construction2022-2023. The Commons will replace the existing Thompson Hall. The plan includes comfortable dining facilities, a commercial kitchen, and weatherized housing for staff.

SUPPORTING WATERSHED

After reading about Watershed you might be wondering how they’ve been able to accomplish so much. Like anything successful they’ve had a vision, commitment from amazing staff and supportive board of directors and advisors. And, they’ve had donors (small and large contributions) who have contributed generously to the mission and success of Watershed. Their Capital Campaign called ‘Watershed NOW’ is creating spaces that inspire bold artistic practice and community. LEARN MORE.

There are opportunities to support Watershed with donations to the scholarship fund, the capital campaign, and the annual fund. Occasionally, Watershed seeks volunteers for specific events and projects. 

Watershed is well-known in the national ceramics community but has perhaps less name recognition in Maine. As capacity for year-round programming grows, Watershed plans to offer more ways for Mainers to connect. 

Co-founder Lynn Duryea shared her remembrance and thoughts on Watershed:

It really was Peg’s vision that got Watershed going. She was a long-time seasonal resident of the area and an investor in the brick factory. When it ceased to be financially viable, she really wanted to see artists use the space, did a lot of outreach and research to see how that might happen, contacting clay programs as well as individual artists. She knew George and ultimately convinced him to try the pilot program in 1986.
George invited artists he knew and who had been recommended to him. He invited me because I was working on large-scale planters for a Percent for Art installation that couldn’t be executed in my Congress St. Portland studio. He knew Chris and invited him to come with his students at Swain School of Design early in the fall. 
I was still working at Watershed when Chris came with his students. It was conversations that came out of that week that moved us forward. I don’t recall that we were looking too far down the road – as it were. I don’t know that we were thinking we were laying the groundwork for what would become a major institution in our field. We definitely saw the potential of a group of people coming together to work in what was then a very raw space, just to see what might happen collectively and individually. Watershed has always been about community – people working together on an equal footing regardless of their reputation, status, age, etc.
Watershed in its early years was about as grass roots as you could get: a group of artists and a small board of directors figuring it all out.
And it has worked. The growth has been organic, uneven and amazing, particularly amazing in the last decade. Fran (Rudoff, executive director) has worked wonders – along with a very dedicated staff and board. In no way did we envision the specifics of Watershed’s programming today in the fall of 1986, but we knew something significant could happen. And it has, by putting one collective foot in front of the other for all these years, never giving up on the ideas and potential.”

NEXT STEPS

Hopefully you’ve read to the end of this long blog post. And either learned about a new place in Maine or reminisced about your own experience(s) at Watershed. It’s a beautiful gem where thousands have traveled to, learned, and left with a full heart. When I think about the co-founders (in their 30’s at the time) who were brave enough to take a chance, I am reminded of Vincent van Gogh’s words: “What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything…”

I am grateful for the help Watershed’s Outreach & Communication Director, Claire Brassil provided in putting together this blog post. As for the future of Watershed, Claire’s thoughts below:

In the spring, we celebrated the building’s completion and collectively reoriented after such a rapid metamorphosis. The studio can contain any program we dream up. But … how will Watershed’s limitless future take shape? As an organization known for its scrappy rough edges, what will it mean to nurture the best parts of our original identity while making the most of our shiny new vessel? These coming-of-age throes find us wrestling with invigorating yet challenging questions of who we’ve been and who we want to become.

The shape and scope of Watershed’s next chapter will begin to emerge over the coming year. I feel confident that my colleagues, the board, and our greater community share a collective passion for refining and growing this unique place. Watershed is a quantifiable physical space: 54 acres, 7,500 square feet of studio space, 31 dining room chairs, 15 bedrooms, 11 kilns, and one gallery. But in an equally real sense, we are an experience, an idea, and a respite during an era when few places affirm that creative practice and artists matter.”  

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Reflecting and Listening

January 15, 2022

Taking time to process and remember over time

A lot has been said about education and educators since the pandemic started in March of 2020. During the earlier months educators were the heroes. People began to realize the value of teachers. I read on a facebook post by a teacher this week that she wished to return to the early days of the pandemic when teachers were appreciated. When parents, especially parents, realized how challenging teaching is and how critical the teacher was to their child. We all know that doesn’t just refer to the ‘teaching’ part of a teachers day but the support teachers give to social and emotional learning, and so many other pieces that teachers teach individual students.

This morning I listened to a 6th grade student from Georgia on public radio say that her mother gave her a journal recently to document her stories of the pandemic. She only wished she had started writing at the beginning of the pandemic because she’s forgetting how she felt and what happened during those earlier days.

As we know time seems to race faster as the years go by. I’m sure some of you can relate to the 6th grader. Those of you that wear both hats – juggling teaching and parenting, in many cases, handled even more than usual.

What did you try during the early days of remoteness that you felt was a disaster and what actually turned into a success? In the spring of 2020 I remember gathering on zoom each morning with my middle schoolers for ‘breakfast club’. Students had a chance to connect with each other and their teachers. They ate, laughed, and connected in ways unmeasurable. It was optional but almost every student was there almost every day. It helped them to remember the importance of connecting and communicating in a ‘non-learning’ way. Let’s face it, we know how important it is for many to connect, not because we have to but because we want to.

Here are a few questions to help you sort your role as teachers during the pandemic. Answer the questions by writing or an art creation (movement, acting, musically, visual art, poetry):

  • What have you learned earlier in the pandemic that you continue to apply?
  • As things got turned on their head, what did you try that you found was successful or a complete failure?
  • What were the points in time that caused you to pivot?
  • Name what you felt when teachers were being referred to on a daily basis as ‘heroes’?
  • Make a list of what you want to remember from the pandemic as a teacher; the positives, and the challenges?
  • Select a quote that you can identify with in your role as a teacher. Make it large and post it (at home or at school) and use it as motivation and a remembrance that what you’re doing is amazing, every day!

Compile a list of quotes from the amazing work teachers are doing that are helpful in keeping your spirits up and remembering: whatever you’re doing is enough!! I can’t say that enough.

bell hooks, September 25, 1952 – December 15, 2021

As we start another calendar year and head towards two full years of living in a world-wide pandemic here are thoughts and what’s been learned from teacher leaders; on teaching, adapting, pivoting, and noticing students to help them do their best at learning.

A HUGE THANK YOU to Rob Westerberg, Anthony Lufkin, and Iva Damon for going above and beyond and sending their thoughts. Valuable information from Maine Arts Educators. You’re invited to share your thoughts. Please post at the bottom or email them to me at meartsed@gmail.com and I will update this post.

What are your ah-ha moments in teaching this year? What’s most important to you?

  • Two things have helped me pretty profoundly. The first is staying hyper organized. I tend to lean that way ordinarily, but by always staying a step or two ahead of everything that needs to be done, it has helped to relieve a LOT of stress and peripheral distractions from my school day and my interactions with classes/students. The other thing is treating each individual school day as its own mountain climb… I climb a different mountain every day. Consequently at the end of the day I feel a genuine sense of accomplishment. Some climbs are easy, others hard. But either way I leave school feeling very proud and, honestly, very happy. It has helped me keep my focus off of what I cannot control, and instead on the most important things in my professional life: the students. In some ways I already feel like 2021-2022 is the best professional self I have ever been. ~Rob
  • Students are so excited to be back in the classroom. It is why I love teaching. The privilege to provide the space to have students learn and explore what they are capable of doing is why I love going in every day. It’s also so important to remember to remember what is within one’s control and what isn’t. A new technique I learned was to think of oneself as a river, it’s okay to have things flow in, but allow them to continue to flow on and not hold onto what isn’t healthy or supportive to you.~Iva

Do you have any techniques/daily rituals/helpful hints for others that help you and your students focus?

  • Every start of every class, every day: I prompt the students to show me fingers, 5 means “I’m doing amazing”, 1 means “I shoulda stayed in bed…”. I look them over and it’s a conversation starter for me, reacting to what they are showing. If someone’s a 1 or a 2 I may ask, “School or stuff or both?” I certainly don’t need to know more than that, but even that response can lead to other discussions as a class (strategies for dealing with stress, compartmentalizing home stuff and school stuff, being a teenager in the 21st Century or even specific things). It also allows me to provide empathetic stories in my own experience if the situation fits. After we’ve done that, I have the class itinerary on the board, talk them through it, and off we go. The students have expressed directly to me how much they deeply appreciate this. They know it’s not just a quick tack on, that I truly care. EVERY teacher truly cares, but we don’t always have a platform to empathize in real time with our kids. This allows me to do so. It’s amazing how much this one piece – even over just a few minutes – centers and focuses my kids as we prepare to work together. For some the effect lasts the rest of their school day. It’s made a difference for me too. ~Rob
  • I have been using walks as a transition to class. We have been starting each class by doing a loop around the building outside. It has been a great opportunity to informally check-in with students, how their day is going, and makes for a more seamless transition for class to begin when we return inside. ~Iva
  • The structure of my art classes has changed a lot for me over time, significantly with the adaptations need to cope with the pandemic, but also as I develop a better understanding of learning processes, and gain more experience teaching art.  Creating a studio mindset is something that I have worked to achieve, while still maintaining the structural instructional practices needed to develop new skills and understanding.

Working at the elementary level, time is always an issue with one of the biggest inhibitors I have found being the way schedules are set up. Because of the limited time available, I have really had to focus on what is important, and what can be discarded. There are a few strategies that I have implemented that while I had concerns about them taking away from instructional or production time at first, I have found to be invaluable.  

One process that a colleague shared with me is something called a “silent doodle”. This is a little piece of paper on the student’s desk when them come it that they “warm up” with when they first some into class.  The primary reason for implementing this was to help them settle in after a transition, and give me time to get things ready (especially when I did have not time between classes). What I have found though, is that this becomes an amazing creative outlet, and a form of reflection where they often draw images using the skills we have worked on in class. We only spend 2-3 minutes on this, and so while it takes that time, when they are done, they are ready for instruction and creation.  

Another process I have implemented in many classes that I got from some of the collaborative projects I have done with the Farnsworth Art Museum Educational Program, is a quick noticing activity using visual thinking skills. We do what we call an I see…I think… I wonder critique of an artwork. A few times a week at the beginning of class I portray an artwork, sometimes relevant to our project but often not, that we spend a few minutes looking at. I have students raise their hands to tell me what they see in the picture, things like colors, shapes, objects, etc. I then ask for what they think the art work is supposed to show or mean, or why it was created based on those observations. Finally, I ask what else they wonder about the artwork based on what they have seen and what they think. I usually fill them in with a little information about the art and artist, but it is brief, intended to help them realize that there are not always answers to some of those questions. This again takes a few minutes, usually 5 minutes or so, but has created the framework for looking more critically at art, and developing ways to talk about one another’s work using effective constructive criticism. 

The speed of which  I go through instructions, and the modeling of techniques are also significant components to giving students adequate time to work on their projects. Having lots of examples including student examples in progress and completed are also key contributors to helping students understand the steps and processes we are working on. One of the areas I struggle with is giving students the opportunity to “complete” projects. I have the mind set of ‘process over product’, focusing on giving them as many opportunities to try new techniques and mediums as possible. I understand that this can be very frustrating for students who are more methodical in their approach so that balance between finishing and moving on is one I am constantly adjusting.  

While there are many other small factors in my teaching approach that contribute to my teaching “style”, one of the other structural features I have been trying to incorporate more is the use of choice for students. While some of them are adaptive choices, many of them are simply an alternative. For example, I have had a 3D printer donated to our program by the Perloff Family, and have been using some cad programming in my projects. Giving students the option of using 3D printing versus clay, allows those with tactile discomfort, the opportunity to express their ideas in a different form. I still make sure they experience the nature of clay in other projects, but by having some choice, even with miniscule differences, has made a big difference in student motivation. ~Anthony

Now that we’re in the second year of the pandemic; please share what you’ve noticed about students and how they’re adapting to the challenges?

  • My students have never been more grateful for the things we often took for granted pre-pandemic. There is an excitement around rehearsals and classes that is almost tangible, because the kids really missed it. They are struggling too… back in school full time, singing with masks on, social/emotional issues that continue from this past year, but their gratitude seems more overt and embedded in what they do in my classes. I think that gratitude has helped them to move forward even as it remains a challenge. ~Rob
  • They need space to talk through their concerns, hopes, and have adult models to help them establish healthy tools to cope with their new world they are a part of. Students are the most resilient and have been able to bounce with the extreme changes that keep coming their way, but time to stop and reflect is so very important. ~Iva

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Happpppy New Year!

January 1, 2022

I’m seeing the new light

Here we are at the start of another year – 2022. It feels like it couldn’t possibly be over 20 years when we were turning the century and we experienced the fear of the computer flaw and the Y2K scare. I know that the last year has been absolutely crazy for educators and I am grateful for those of you who continue to dedicate yourselves to teaching and putting students best interest in the center. I’m excited about starting a new year and sharing many arts education and educators stories with you that I’ve been working on during the last month.

Today I’m sharing a short story of my own. On December 13 I attended the winter concert at Camden Hills Regional High School. Many of you know Kim Murphy who teaches music at the school and directs the chorale, treble choir and chamber singers. I was moved to tears when the treble choir sang Where the Light Begins with text by Jan Richardson and music by Susan LaBarr. The piece was originally written for a middle school and the composer was asked to “contemplate the theme of peace”. When I think about peace I imagine teachers putting on their supermen capes each morning to face the challenges of the day. The first few lines of the song Where the Light Begins…

Perhaps it does not begin.

Perhaps it is always.

Perhaps it takes a lifetime to open our eyes,

to learn to see what has forever shimmered in front of us

If you google the title you can find the rest of the words and hear the song and perhaps you’ll be moved by the piece as well.

A few days later on December 21, I invited our neighbors for a Winter Solstice gathering. Some of you know that I’ve lived on a gravel, dead end road with 6 other homes in a small Maine town for over 20 years. Over the years we’ve gotten to know our neighbors through chatting while walking on the road, welcoming new folks with a loaf of bread and exchanging cookies during the holidays. Most importantly, we wave as cars pass by. We recognize people from the cars they drive. In all these years we’ve never had a gathering of all the neighbors. Two things prompted the invitation; one was the isolation of Covid, the second reason was because one neighbor passed away in August. I am reminded, now more than ever because of Covid, how important it is to reach out to others. Our outside gathering included a chance to look at the stars, stand around the fire pit, share and exchange cookies and refreshments. And, my favorite part … we each lit a candle (children and adults) and listened to a poem called The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper. And, on the shortest day of the year, we all felt a new connection.

Today on Facebook, a former student (whose mother I also taught), had listed some favorite moments of 2021. It was a very sweet post that had beautiful photos accompanying the moments. She lives on a farm and raising her own food including vegetables, chicken and rabbits. My favorite was a picture with 6 shelves of canned foods, and baskets and crates stacked and filled with different squash. She won’t go hungry and she has plenty to share!

Her post helped me pause and give thought to some of my favorite moments this year. One is – drinking my favorite tea, quince, sent to me by my Danish sister (that I can’t find in the US). I enjoy a cup of tea while listening to Poem-a-day which comes by email from the Academy of American Poets. (If interested, sign up at https://poets.org). I’ll finish this post with today’s poem called The New Year by Carrie Williams Clifford. My wish for you for 2022 is to remember to put on your Superman cape each day and have a safe and happy new year!

The New Year comes—fling wide, fling wide the door
Of Opportunity! the spirit free
To scale the utmost heights of hopes to be,
To rest on peaks ne’er reached by man before!
The boundless infinite let us explore,
To search out undiscovered mystery,
Undreamed of in our poor philosophy!
The bounty of the gods upon us pour!
Nay, in the New Year we shall be as gods:
No longer apish puppets or dull clods
Of clay; but poised, empowered to command,
Upon the Etna of New Worlds we’ll stand—
This scant earth-raiment to the winds will cast—
Full richly robed as supermen at last!

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