Friday, December 16, 2011

Oak and Moon

waning gibbous moon through autumn oak leaves
The cool autumn days were a much needed relief and my compass is finally finding north again, I think.  I must have been in the honeymoon phase of death during the first few months after Julien was born.  When that wore off in late September, things got dark.  Really dark.  

But autumn has a way of un-sticking our stuck places.  Sitting under this big oak tree season after season, watching her leaves change colors and her form change shape has certainly taught me that nothing lasts forever.

I've been practicing letting go -- again and again and again -- and I'm back to working with the moon cycles.  This is my second waning moon and, as I sit here right now, I cannot find the right words to describe the peace that has washed through me since giving my grief to autumn and to the waning moon.  I've been working with a meditation I wrote for A. --- visualizing each emotion, each thought, blowing away with the falling leaves.  My great oak tree is resting now, her leaves - whose birth we witnessed in spring - now cover the sweet, earthy ground below.  Her barren branches reach into the pale sunlight like arms stretching during the deep yawn that comes before sleep.  

I'm ready for the long rest of winter too.  I'm ready to nourish my body with roots and soups and home-baked bread and to welcome the stillness that only comes when we enter the dark half of the year. 

After breaking my cup in September, I've been filling it up again with some beautiful literature.  I've been sitting outside under my old, oak tree re-reading Thoreau's Walden, enjoying Noam Chomsky's Profit Over People: Neoliberalism & Global Order, falling in love with Jack Petrash's  Understanding Waldorf Education: Teaching from the Inside Out, and I'm just diving into Rhythms of Learning : What Waldorf Education Offers Children, Parents, and Teachers  -- a wonderful collection of essays by Rudolf Steiner edited by Robert Trostli.

Through the turning of the seasons and the pages of these books, I seem to be remembering that what matters most about education - and life - is not the pedagogy to which we subscribe, but the reverence we are able to nurture in our children.  I feel that this must be the thing most central to education.  By honoring one another, the earth, and the very sacredness of our own lives, we create a soft place to fall when things fall apart.  I think that when we listen very closely, we can hear the moon and the old oak trees whispering this wisdom. 
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