Sunday, May 30, 2010

how extraordinary!

openness to their best

I find young people amazing
in how open each be to wisdom and beauty,
their words, their art, their movement,
the openness with which each can welcome another,
the courage to take the step, to make the leap,

to reveal the pain within,
to feel another’s pain and then to help,
to feel another’s joy and then to share,

of course steps can stumble,
the juggler drop a ball now and then,
but what almost overwhelms me
is how amazing young people can be.

by Henry Walker
May 26, ’10

back to nature

re-opening the doors

he says to me:
“As we get older nature means more to us than to them. . .”
and he looks at my 16 middle schoolers,

I know what he’s saying and the piece of truth within it--
that we can forget for a time our first years
and the tie we could have then
to plant and animal, ocean and mountain,
the treasure of an acorn cap, a chrysalis opening,
each new dawn, each new day,

part of our growing-up is we mold ourselves to fit into boxes:
home, school, friend, and culture shape us to fit them,

these young people today deny lethargy

and throw themselves 4 miles up a steep valley
until a way opens to a grand waterfall cascading before us,

hearts and minds overflow with wonder,
the effort and sweat felt then to be a fine price to pay
for another re-opening into their bond with nature:
snails catch the fancy of one student,
shelf-fungus another,
the conch-shell like blossom of laurel another,

the doors may seem to disappear to our eyes for awhile,
yet they’re still there and we can find them again
and find again the nature joy
that the pre-schooler knows so well.

by Henry Walker
May 25, ’10

leaves & the Smokies

loosed of limits

leaf swallows the Smokies
and me and my story when I’m there,
curtains of trees flow over the hills and valleys
and take away our view of the larger
that is greater than us
and leave us with that of the smaller scale,
which I too find greater than us:
a single flower,

the curve of a fern,
the pillar of a tree,

the transformations of a creek,

garden after garden around every bend in the trail,
above the underlying story that geology tries to read,

I write this as I sit in a large grassy field
that spreads all over an undulating treeless mountain top,
smoky grey mountains ring us all round in the background
and, closer in, dark green and yellow green ridges
ring us in the foreground,

up here the world and I feel loosed of limits,
a place for the eye to widen, the jaw to drop,
the pulse to quicken,
sense of self and boundaries to fly out wider & wider,
I feel larger as I sigh
and stretch out word and photo
to hold what I can
of the greatness before me.

by Henry Walker
May 24, ’10

who I seek to be

multitudes are within

a goal I seem to have in life
is to notice and express the multitudes within me,
the child who builds a rock dam in the creek,
the adult who organizes effort after effort toward the light,
the sacred joins the profane, the sublime with the ridiculous,
the clear mind of a scientist and the soft soul of a poet,
logic and empathy,
the newness of creation of the artist
plus giving space for the goodbyes of dissolution,
I remember as historian and fathom the future with a novel,
I am the extrovert who delights in expression, connection, the plural,
I am an introvert who delights in withdrawal and the single,

I believe a foolish consistency of self
can deny the multitudes within us
whose diversity enriches the whole,
if we follow the multitudes express themselves,
we can let ourselves reach more truly
toward the greatness that is possible
each time a child is born and goes forth.

by Henry Walker
May 27, ’10

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

me as an educator

pull itself together

I often feel I hold at least both sides within myself,
I can be neither one, nor the other,
but somehow I can hold enough of each
so that the world is not split apart
and instead is held together,
though, as in a dance,
someone needs to lead for a time
or you cannot move,

I have a calling to see the whole
that the pieces yearn to rediscover, or to find anew,

I am an educator
for whom teaching is only one of the tools in my kit,
more important than teaching is to see the whole within a person
and to applaud when it asserts itself
and to challenge it to deny the doubting voices within
and work hard to heed the builder at the heart,

for I think nothing is more powerful
than the self pulling itself together,
and, like a catalyst,
at my best I help the reaction, and the action,
I facilitate,
sometimes enable,
and I hope to become dispensable
as soon as possible,
as the miracle of the whole pulls itself together.

by Henry Walker
May 8, ’10

CFS & the arts

space & time, for the arts

every one of us must feel a need to create,
to find the tools without
that allow that which is within to act,
to express itself with word & sound & shape,
with pencil, color, a sculpting,
the broad stroke and the subtle line,
maybe a synthesis of music & dance,
or a song that pulls us out and throws us high,
that touches us deep and won’t let go,

each of us is unique and into the differences,
each of us is also drawn to connect,
and appreciate what we together can be,

how wonderful it is to celebrate creation.

by Henry Walker
May 13, ’10