Wednesday, November 6, 2013
An Alumna Board Member Reflects on the Lantern Walk
Below is a letter from one of our Spindlewood Board Members Liz Hannibal Drury. Her three sons attended Spindlewood. Now that the youngest has begun college, Liz has been given a sabbatical year from her middle school teaching position to complete her Masters in School Development at Harvard. She has given me permission to share parts with you. I though you would appreciate her response to my note on the Lantern Walk….
We look forward to Liz’s return to our community. In the meantime, she joins our board meetings by speaker phone. (Our next meeting is November 21. It is always an “open” meeting if you would like to join us at 7pm.)
From: elizabeth drury [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Monday, October 28, 2013 10:53 PM To: Susan Silverio Subject: Re: Lantern Walk next Thursday, November 7 at 4:30pm
This note could not have come on a better day. I have been a bit nostalgic about the boys’ childhood, went back through the photo albums, and showed them to new friends in Cambridge….
I remember the Lantern Walk as a magical yet hauntingly challenging time. It seemed to mark a transition toward introspection that required community and a little candle in the soul. Oddly, or serendipitously, I feel those feelings again at this time. Perhaps I need to have my own little lantern walk of sorts here in Cambridge.
I love my experience at Harvard and am so very thankful for my experience of growth here. Many new friends, many young as my guys. As comes with awareness and growth, comes some discomfort as well. One thing working on me in this learning time is the conflict I feel about education. I am so dearly drawn to wanting to help the public school child, to really offer nourishment. I also see the trend toward strict testing and form, especially here in Boston Public Schools. The school I am at is a highly successful “turnaround” school which means the children of poverty have had the valuable experience of moving from violence and uncertainty of a failing school to a stable, highly functioning, much more peaceful experience. There is no doubt that there is good work going on here. However, I am adrift in my soul……knowing that really my wellbeing comes from God, not a person. Yet the aloofness (here) leaves me parched for a deeper and more meaningful, nourishing experience, myself. This has me wondering about the wealth of a true foundation for living that Waldorf kindergarten established in us. Education is so much more than the “thin” calling of the competitive test. And, paradoxically, there is no disputing that good is happening here..I am coming into a cold time and I just want to have a little light and warmth there at my school with me. I am dedicated to learning what I need to learn here, to being loyal to my commitment but I pray for a narrow path toward beauty out of loneliness.
And so I enter the dark time of cold, with a hope of a little shelter for my tiny candle.
My best to you, and such gratitude for the lesson of your loving tutelage over the years.
Posted by Susan @ Spindlewood
at 4:26 PM No comments:
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Martinmas Lantern Walk
for Spindlewood Families and Friends
November 7, Thursday 4:30 – 5:15 pm
This week, each child is making a lantern by painting a glass jar with egg white and covering it with a mosaic of colored tissue paper. They will be ready when you arrive for the Lantern Walk. You are welcome to bring other candle lanterns also, but please no flashlights.
‘Martinmas’, November 11, is a festival with European roots. Martin (named for Mars) was a Roman soldier of the fourth century who gave his cloak to a beggar. (This was more than an act of charity. It was considered to be an act of treason.) Later in a dream Martin saw Christ clothed in his cloak. He subsequently devoted the rest of his life to helping the poor. He was a man who carried an inner light in a time of darkness.
This festival provides us with an opportunity to consciously mark the point in the cycle of the year when the light and warmth of the sun is retreating. The Lantern Walk allows us to experience the change of season in a sensory way.
A small bonfire and warm apple cider that we pressed at our Harvest Celebration will await families upon their arrival at the kindergarten. When all are gathered we will celebrate the circle time that the children are doing in the kindergarten. In the Waldorf School, we wait until second grade to tell stories of the saints. So our circle game presents a picture of the elemental beings whose task it is to bring cosmic light into the earth, bringing life to the seeds and light to the growth of crystals.
After the circle, parents or grandparents may light the children’s lanterns (we will provide long matches that you may wish to keep just in case a lantern needs to be rekindled) and I will lead the way along the lighted path. The walk is not long but the experience is memorable. Stepping into the darkness we are guided only by the light of our lanterns and the luminaries placed along the pathway and a bit of moon if the night is clear. We may hear an owl, a crackling stick, or the wind. We return to find the bonfire extinguished, but the sparks of light in our lanterns creating a large circle of warmth and community. We sing a final song, receive a ginger cookie and then carry the lanterns with the same quiet intention to your cars and on to your homes.
To strengthen the mood of the Lantern Walk, some possibilities are:
* Please be here by 4:30 so that car headlights don’t interrupt our walk. Dress warmly and wear good walking shoes. Please, no flashlights on the walk.
* Although the event is short, you might expand it into an opportunity to have a more mindful day in order to be more receptive to the mood of the evening. You might try to notice some of the signs that mark the retreat of autumn, or to work a little more slowly and deliberately than normal throughout the day, or to have a pot of warm soup ready upon return home to eat as a family by candlelight.
* You could end the evening by getting ready for bed early and then telling your young children a story rather than reading them a book. Children love any story you tell, no
matter how simple you think it is. If you have never done this, here is a suggestion: Tell a story about a family – with the same makeup as your own – that walks by a lantern one night in order to help an elderly neighbor who is sick.
PS – If you prefer to have a Lantern Walk at home, your child may bring home the lantern!