“In a milkweed cradle,
all snug and warm,
tiny seeds are hiding,
safe from harm.
Open up your wings now,
unto the sky.
Come Mister Wind,
help them fly!”
— Traditional Waldorf Circle Song
I’m listening to May Erlewine’s newly released album “Mother Lion.” It’s amazing. I could listen to it over and over again.
“I want the dawn to break me open.
I want to breathe and be unbroken.
I want it to take a while.
I want to be wild.”
I love how May sings through the contradictions and vulnerabilities that we live with every day. Thank you for putting your music into the world, May.
“I think it makes a huge difference, when you wake in the morning and come out of your house, whether you believe you are walking into dead geographical location, which is used to get to a destination, or whether you are emerging out into a landscape that is just as much, if not more, alive as you, but in a totally different form, and if you go towards it with an open heart and a real, watchful reverence, that you will be absolutely amazed at what it will reveal to you.” — John O’Donohue
I love to hear my girls sing.
To watch them on stage — yes.
But, even more than that, to hear them humming and whistling,
singing spontaneously around the house.
Oh, what does John O’Donohue say?
“I love music.
I think music is just it.
I love poetry as well, of course, and I think of beauty in poetry.
But music is what language would love to be if it could.”
(“Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living” by Krista Tippett, Penguin Books, 2016: p. 77)
“Words make worlds.” — Krista Tippett
On my desk this week: Moby Dick (by Herman Melville), Workshops Work (by Patricia Zaballos), The Poetry Handbook (by Mary Oliver), The One-Straw Revolution (by Masanobu Fukuoka), Becoming Wise (by Krista Tippett, and Project-Based Homeschooling (by Lori Pickert). I’m reading bits and pieces of all of them — because that is how my reading happens right now: in little snippets of time in the midst of very full days.
I might be hiding upstairs in my room right now, taking one of these mini reading breaks . . .
Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first
you don’t want to take.
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
way of starting
Start with your own
give up on other
don’t let them
Start right now
take a small step
you can call your own. — David Whyte
This beautiful poem has been on my mind this week. Everywhere I turn, I am reminded to start close in.
Have you discovered the book “How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare” by Ken Ludwig? I brought it home from the library last fall and it sat in a stack of books, unopened, for three weeks. It wasn’t the right time. Or maybe I was intimated by the thought of Shakespeare? Where to begin with Shakespeare?
Well, I brought it home again last week. And this time I managed to open it up on my lap on a quiet Sunday morning when everyone else was still asleep. The result? I’m hooked! I love it. We’re learning Shakespeare. Memorizing it!
I love Ken Ludwig’s philosophy and his emphasis on the importance of hearing Shakespeare’s poetry aloud and memorizing passages with your children. He writes:
“With Shakespeare, memorizing is the key to everything. . . In order to memorize something, you have to be very specific and very honest with yourself. You have to work slowly, and you have to understand every word of what you’re memorizing. There was a time not long ago when memorization was considered to be one of the basic tools of an academic education. Students were expected to learn hundreds of lines from the Greek and Roman classics, then, later, from poetry in their native tongues. This tradition has faded from our lives, and something powerful has been lost.” (p. 6 & 8)
Reading this I realized how much memorization was part of my own education — and yet I hadn’t thought about it much before. So many choir songs; solos; lines in middle-school and high-school plays; passages from the Bible; and French! Oh, the French memorization I did in college was endless.
But when I studied Shakespeare in high school, it was all in written form. Always read silently, to myself. Never spoken — let alone memorized. And so the thought of learning Shakespeare through memorization, right from the beginning, was completely new to me — and yet it felt absolutely right. And so we dove right in with A Midsummer Night’s Dream:
“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows . . .”