Community & Connection Spiral
We live in a spiral galaxy. Nearly seventy percent of the galaxies closest to the Milky Way are spirals. The centre of a spiral galaxy is a glowing bulge of dust and gas orbited by a rotating disk with spiral arms of brilliant stars. The centre of the bulge sometimes masks a supermassive black hole.
At our year-end choir meeting, one of the singers said “singing in a circle looking at each other is one of the most powerful experiences.” In January I started singing with Safe Harbour, a local chamber choir, a mentor choir for SONG, a local children’s music program.
A Poem Inspired by Learning Together
We tell a story about a mother who is seventy-four
and a daughter who is forty-nine,
adding up time and
along the line between them.
We share an open array of numbers,
imagining parts and wholes,
our strategies exposed by quantities
of numbers decomposing and
constant relationships in our minds
–before even holding a pencil.
Hand over heart we tap
until we see a place
in a string of familiar anchors
and friendly landmarks.
We can count back to see the value, partial
products of flexibility now.
Voices of facts and concepts
and ways to solve
burst with numerate enthusiasm
and joy, seeing how the teacher
draws our thoughts
together on a whiteboard.
We gasp at its simple magnitude.
Everyone has a story.
From our first cry out of the womb we communicate our insight and experience as humans. It is natural. Each new insight and experience for the rest of our lives offers opportunity for story. As we learn, our stories multiply. When we share a story we share our learning. When we receive a story we mix it into our personal collection so the narratives become tangled, sparking new insights and altered versions of their story, our story.
One of the many things I love about my job is that learning is at the heart of the work. Every day I am invited to learn from people, experiences, research, and curriculum subject areas.
For a week this summer I stayed in residence at Trent University, my alma mater.
It surprised me to realize that I hadn’t been back to Otonabee since the late nineties. When I signed up for an intensive theatre course (offered through Theatre Ontario at Trent), I knew I would feel nostalgic but I wasn’t prepared for this. Returning to my first home away from home was a transformational experience.
It was such an honour to have my article on the cover of this month’s OPC Register, a publication by the Ontario Principal’s Council. It’s called: “It Takes a Village: Supporting student well-being using a collective impact model.” Please contact me if you’d like to read the article.
“The place was a wilderness of autumn gold and purple and violet blue and flaming scarlet on every side were sheaves of late lilies standing together–lilies which were white or white and ruby…Late roses climbed and hung and clustered and the sunshine deepening the hue of the yellowing trees made one feel that one stood in an empowered temple of gold.” The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett.
When I was I was sixteen I went to England for the first time, staying with different host families a few hours outside of London. I remember the gardens. Even a small yard was filled with rows of diverse colour, separated by narrow, meandering walking paths. It was such a contrast to the concrete and brick and asphalt dominating the front of the homes. I had never been in gardens that transported me beyond time and place before. The gardens offered magic and peace and escape–a refuge calming my fear of being away from home without my parents for the first time. This was when I learned that gardens were special.