Monday, February 22, 2010

a new performing arts building at CFS?

Performing Arts, Centered

what do I think is most important?
for me, the teacher, it is each and every student,
and the long pursuit of what structures, external to them,
can most fully serve the best that is within them,
there can then be that incredible symbiosis
when that of God within works together with the choices of the self
and the light within shines out more and more brightly,

I have yet to find a structure better than drama,
for who I am,
for who we are,
to be the working structure
for the potential to become the actual,
and the actor, out of self,
in some wondrous sleight of self,
takes the risk of being true to his and her gifts,
and the impostor within can then realize
that he, that she is real and fulfilled in the journey,

now at Friends School, we dream of a performing arts center,
where the physical structures are so much more there already
than the make-do, make-up, jerry-rig reality we live now,
where we have the right time, space, and opportunity
to devote much more of our energies to helping each student realize their gifts,
instead of each time having to reinvent and build the physical steps up the mountain,
instead we can concentrate on the metaphorical steps
and more easily help each student climb,
climb until we break through to the top
and we’re at the summit
where more and more students
express the light of their gifts,

if we build it right
and if we use it well,
this new external structure
will even more fully allow us
to help our students be true
to themselves and to their gifts.

by Henry Walker
February 19, 2010

Sunday, February 14, 2010

the middle school presents

Charlie & the Chocolate Factory

Roald Dahl takes his childhood
and lets it ferment in his imagination
till from that heady brew
a story comes of 5 kids
drawn by luck, pluck, and selfishness
to a chocolate factory
where sugar and the cacao bean
transform into delicious wonders
under the artistry of Willy Wonka
and the wildly inventive oompa-loompas,

one teacher finds a way to transform book into play
and another teacher feels the call to pull off the play
at a small Quaker school in piedmont North Carolina,
a call goes out and others join the quest
to add words, music, costumes, lights, props & sets, make-up, projections,
the wonder of the actors getting into their characters,
and, through the energy of their becoming
those whom Roald Dahl brought to life,
each actor adds to the other actors realizing themselves,
and a story lives upon the stage,
a story that pulls the audience into it
to love and laugh with the journey,
sometimes laughing so much they cry,
they feel the pull into the bubble
and love giving in to the pull,
their faces alight and fully-engaged,
appreciating the light shining from those they already know and loved,
and the light shining from those they come to know and love,
and what a wonderful message:
that a good heart can triumph over those
who have no problem
subtracting from others
so that they can gain--
those who care nothing
for the expense of the others’ loss,

I am in awe of how in this production each gives what they have to give
and together the sum of our parts makes a whole,
a whole that is transcendent,
each of us but a part,
each of us also the whole,
and each cares everything for the gain of the other
which only adds to one’s own gain,
for some jobs, some creations,
take a village to lift together,
and all rise!

by Henry Walker
February 14, 2010

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

how shifty we are

the journey is who we are

maybe life can be like a trackless wood,
more often, it seems to me,
it’s not the lack of a path before us,
but a bewildering exuberance of tracks before us,
each of which has branch after branch,
and we still must move forward with dispatch,
choosing and acting upon this way or that
and in all of those choices we become who we are,
our destination shifts and shifts,
and we do well to remember the journey is who we are,
we create a shifting oneness as decisions are made and remade,
as we know both truths to right and left,
and we scramble along, somehow between them,
as revelation opens a way,
the truth of one part of who we are
wins for the moment over a contrasting part,
though the “victory” is of the moment,
we are each unique,
a peg for whom there is only one hole,
and yet we are each communal,
and we seek to fit into a larger whole, somehow,
and we walk within that dichotomy,
the introvert and extrovert,
the liberal and the conservative,
the ascetic and the indulgent--
so many decisions, so many choices,
and in the long choosing of first one then the other
we move forward,

the oscillations power the self to know itself
and every moment defines and redefines the knowing,
who am I? what I tell you today
will only be part of the truth that I will tell you tomorrow.

by Henry Walker
February 5, 2010