Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Mike Iskandar's project, 1 to 40

the way in, and the way out

imagine a project:
one person the center for each age, from 1 to 40,
that person’s world explored, recorded, questioned,
each developmental stage captured with elusive clarity,
the wisdom of the self at each year opened-up as a marvel,
when possible, memories tapped, the future guessed at,

each unique self whole and complete,
though also still becoming, changing in the revealing,
staying true to the individual soul who imbues each of us,

once again, here is an extraordinary truth:
that the truer we are to our individuality,
the truer we are somehow to our commonality,

the way out to others
can equal the way in to our selves.

by Henry H. Walker
March 27, ‘18

Sunday, March 25, 2018

the child, and the path

the tension between license and control

how can a skinned knee be a blessing?

the too-protective world shields the child
at the cost of denying the child
the right to make mistakes,
and thus the right to make one’s own path,
there skinned knees, wet feet, and brambles await,
as well as the skills to persevere
through difficulties and mistakes
into the power that a person can live
when the self is trusted to make its own way,
the “school of hard knocks” is real,
and it is hard to know when it’s best
to protect the fragile child
and when it’s best
to allow the child to make mistakes,
then to learn what works and what doesn’t,
and thus to become a stronger self,

in our middle school staff meetings,
I feel a a tension between
the excesses of either license or control,
of giving rein to the horse
or holding it to the path,

somehow we need to hold both the parent who holds the child close,
and the parent who lets the child go into its own future,
at my deepest, I seek to honor the self
struggling to be the best it can,
I see and celebrate what is working
while also lovingly I work to help the self
to realize what didn’t work.

by Henry H. Walker
March 23, ’18
honoring the work of Wendy Mogel Ph.D.
The Blessing Of A Skinned Knee: Using Timeless Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children

also check out Joan's writing on her new blog:

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Spring Equinox 18

Spring Equinox ‘18

the Spring Equinox soon comes,
so I find the Duplex Cookies for the celebration:
the half-vanilla, half-chocolate treats to represent
the halving of the day into light and dark,

in our yard, crocus, daffodil, hyacinth, and Stokesia

continue to ply their trade,
redbud is ready to erupt,

while the maple has sort of ventured forth,

the dogwood are still tightly withdrawn:

the midwinter cold a cautionary tale
that many plants heed,

I found the right time in February
to plant my first sugar snap peas and lettuce,

so that they might listen more to the day than to the night,
to sprout and reach toward the sky,

within me I reach to be like the blueberry bud:
full of hope and promise, the urge to get on with it,

I surprise myself when I check out the bluebird house
and discover the first plaiting of pine straw into nest,
the bluebirds must feel the new life within,
and they prepare for it,

clouds continue to blur the transition,
Spring Equinox dawns wet, sodden with gray light,
through midday the clouds still mute the light
and blur the shadows,
winter morphs into spring as if behind curtains,
here in the East, trees obscure the horizon,
and clouds worry themselves with phase change,
rain to snow?
water is ready to serve as the agent 
to allow hope to become summer
and summer to build to the bounty of fall,
life must trust that the turning will come round right.

by Henry H. Walker
March 20, ‘18

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Thoreau and the Pencil

The Pencil and The Word

Henry David Thoreau
found experience and words
to move us all forward,
if we but have the wit to move,

I think of him
as my pen misses some
of the sureness of ink to paper
we usually assume must be how things are,

Thoreau and family ran a small factory
that made excellent pencils in early New England,
the cheap and easy writing implement of that time,

for me, our technology has moved past pencils,
yet, as I think of Thoreau,
I want to know the pencil:
cheap, democratic,
a way for the Word
to express itself.

by Henry H. Walker
March 16, ‘18

Saturday, March 17, 2018

to open the doors

Science Day ‘18

we want our middle school students
to function as scientists,
not just like scientists,
just as we want the writer, the artist, the athlete
within them to express itself,

today we celebrate the journey toward truth,
recently travelled by half the school
in their individual experiments,

and workshop 16 different paths 
of experience and understanding,
shared by gifted volunteers,
whose lives speak of the power of science
to do good, to live wonder,
to find keys that open doors,
behind which understanding has been hiding, 

our Science Day begins with Glenn Murphy
honoring Stephen Hawking, whose body left us this week,

but whose mind we followed for a time with Glenn
through centuries of figuring out
where Earth, Sun, planets, and stars
move in relationship to each other,
Glenn, the scientist at his core,
poses a problem to our students:
“Could the dinosaurs have seen the constellation Orion?”
and pushes them to call up questions
that need to be followed
so that a plausible answer to that question can be found, 
generating the right question at the heart of inquiry,

in the afternoon, Bryan Sexton enthralls us all

with the research on stress and burnout,
on the causes of energies diminished or rejuvenating,
the power of the positive, of a friend,
of seeing the stars above more than the mud beneath,
the kids rapt with their attention,
with the resonance within them to the ideas,
his orientation of self with the wholeness
that all of us know
and that we hope will be 
the driver of who we are,

the day finishes with a fun fashion show,
as group after group uses natural and recycled items
to make and share creations
that pull laughter and applause from the group,

Science Day in C.F.S. Middle School
celebrates the scientist within us all,
the scientist who loves to learn,

to ask, to risk, to joy,
to find the way forward
so that all can come closer
to the wholeness that is.

by Henry H. Walker
March 16, ‘18
(Bryan Sexton photo courtesy of Google Images.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

I rise with the turkey vulture

late February in the Piedmont

a turkey vulture glides above the trees,
soaring on whatever currents of warmed, rising air are available,
taking what’s it’s given to soar,
and to find the carrion the wind reveals to it,

the plant world plays the odds,
somehow deciding when it’s worth
sprouting, budding, blooming, risking,
it feels the lengthening days and encroaching warmth,
open to revelation, to risking theNorth Wind
which can nip hope in the bud,

we humans prefer to better our odds,
to plant flowers that come early and that endure the cold, the deer,

to ship ourselves fruits and vegetables and meat from around the world,
in my mind, strawberries taste different
when they’re only available fresh for a few weeks,
sugar snap peas, fresh from the garden, continue to call to me,
evidence that a garden still can be worth the effort,

it’s spring in the world around me,
the years behind me, and the face in the mirror,
speak more of fall than of spring.

by Henry H. Walker
February 24, ‘18