Saturday, September 18, 2021

the storm of the pandemic


long effects of the pandemic

the challenging effects of the pandemic can linger in the learner,

many students, being back to in-person learning, 

seem to feel as if disabling weight has been removed from them,

extra poundage that held them back from sprinting forward,

those students seem able to shrug off the effects of the pandemic,

now we notice more of the long effect on other students:

the energizing of anxieties and self-doubt,

the siren-call of lethargy and bad habits,

the lack of clarity of how to move from here to there,

for many students, motivation has returned as help and a good ally,

nevertheless some ways forward

have no easily-seen path as to how

to get through the brambles and the blowdowns,

the way forward is far more open for many

as school approaches normal,

but the storm of the pandemic

has also made some journeys fraught with troubles.

by Henry H. Walker
September 16, ‘21

Monday, September 13, 2021

back to the classroom

 In-Person Learning Now

Question: how are students responding to the pandemic 

once back to in-person school?

My hypothesis: students are excelling as best they can.


I am enjoying classes,

students seem to be enjoying classes and learning.

I have the highest level I can remember of excellence on assignments.

An eighth grade student volunteers:

“I am more motivated now than I was before the pandemic.”

Another student, sitting next to him, agrees.  She had been home-schooled last year.

the difficulties of distance learning

seemed to strand us in a desert,

and we were all thirsty, parched,

now, being back in class, we have found an oasis,

and every assignment now can be a drink

we had been hoping for,

a school, at its best, should be just what the student needs,

it is sad that the pandemic had to be a way for us to learn how thirsty we were,

each moment in class, as students rise to the best which calls to them,

I am almost overcome by joy in the rightness which reasserts itself.,

as thirsts find a good drink to help with what has been lacking.

by Henry H. Walker

September 11, ‘21

Thursday, September 9, 2021

circles and advisees


To my advisees, 9/9/21,

As a school, and as an advisee group, 

the fire of each student should center us,

as if each of us forms together circle after circle

to hold the light of each young person,

to hold it in a way to give it air

and allow it to know itself 

well enough to flame brightly,

the genius we can be as a school

is to know that each connection is vital,

the learner needs to not be alone,

the teacher, the advisor, the student

 needs to realize

that each of us is important

and that each of us is but a piece,

a piece of circles that have held each of us before now

and will hold each of us after now,

when we get together as an advisee group,

we must work to keep the circles unbroken.

May the fire that is you blaze brightly within and without!

from Henry,

who is proud to be your advisor

Sunday, August 29, 2021

the loss of our maple tree


the trees, our elders

I wear a t-shirt with old great trees on it:

“Respect Your Elders” written below the trees,

redwoods elder me into awe,

their ancient truths drop me to my knees,

I mourn our logging them as if they are but things,

in the last five years I have lost

a great beech tree I have known all my life

and a great tulip poplar tree I have known most of my life,

both wounded by rot and fungus,

both killed by destroying fire and wind,

I am old enough to have planted a Chinese chestnut tree

that is now big enough for bears to climb

and feast on its sweet nuts, 

reprising the world of a century ago,

I am old enough to have transplanted a cedar tree

tall enough now so that a huge bear two months ago

could use it to scratch and rub itself with enthusiasm,

all this musing comes to me because our large maple tree,

pushed from the vertical by Hurricane Fran 25 years ago

finally could no longer hold against gravity and rot,

a few days ago, just as the night finished claiming the day,

it softly let go and sank gently to the ground,

prostrating itself to the southwest

as if to do as little damage to our garden as it could,

the tire swing I made for our boys,

and enjoyed for many years by visiting kids,

laid onto the grass as if to rest,

our boys played with this fine old tree,

their childhood and its presence inextricably linked together,

now its leaves start to change,

the fall precipitating Autumn,

the surrounding forest encircles what was once a hub,

and now is a hole into the sky,

it feels as if the maple was once a center

around which all else circled,

here in the East enough rain comes to allow our elders

to reach to the sky and thus to block the heavens from our easy view,

our yard, our home, transforms,

and I want to both embrace the new and honor the old,

the ginkgo we planted reaches toward the sky

just to the east of the maple’s hole,

October will release the gold within its leaves,

and our hearts will follow its torch toward heaven,

while we also feel the hole within of elders passing.

by Henry H. Walker

August 28, ‘21