No, this is not an announcement about additions to the family. Let's just get that clear right from the start.
Pictured here is one of my favorite musical directions. It's an extended rest, a rest that is held at the performer's discretion.
In performances a rest can be very powerful. At the right moment in a song or monologue, this kind of pause provides power and can elicit a strong reaction. Of course, that only happens if the pause is between significant moments.
This has been an emotional few weeks for me and I've been struggling something fierce. Nothing traumatic or dramatic. Some of it is the natural struggle humans go through with significant change. Some of it is based on external events or situations in my life. Some of it is based on intrinsic things inside of me. Suffice it to say it's been a bit rough and I haven't had the usual joy and excitement I feel when the school year begins.
Today, after rehearsal ended I was alone on campus. The sun was shining, but the shadows were getting deep. It was late in the afternoon and it had that golden feel of fall afternoons. The campus was spotless and primed for action. Today was orientation and just a few hours earlier excited voices were all over as parents and students returned. Tomorrow is the first day of class and the campus will not be silent again, not really silent, until late May.
In that time students will grow and learn. They will achieve and fail, succeed, thrive and struggle. They will laugh and they will cry. They will make friends and they will have disagreements. Their minds will be engaged, but so will their souls.
The quiet and solitude this afternoon were the sustained rest, the pregnant pause--the quiet full of meaning. This pause is the bridge between the aspirations of a new year and the beginning of their reality. The moment when hopes and dreams are either born or aborted based on the choices one makes.
One of the things I love about teaching is the significance of new school years. There is something powerful and poignant about a new school year. I almost call it sacred. The chance for a new beginning, the chance to try new things, to develop and grow and to turn over a new leaf, to push ahead. To me, January 1st is not really that big a deal. It's just a new calendar. The real new year begins with an empty grade book and big dreams, great hopes, and full-sized expectations.
Something about being in this pause connected my soul--it jump started my heart and grounded me in the rhythms of the school and the teeming life that fills it. The pregnant pause healed my heart today and birthed my excitement for a wonderful, challenging year.
Good luck to everyone who starts something new this school year!
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