Posts Tagged ‘Where the Light Begins’

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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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