Tuesday, May 18, 2010

creative weekend

a yearly retreat under the oaks

We spent a weekend together as a family with our friends of Griffin Dyeworks, at their annual Dye & Fiber Retreat, held in beautiful Camp Verdugo Oaks. For the past few years, we have been enjoying the creative energy of some amazing people who are dedicated to sharing their fiber arts and crafts. Jennifer has been teaching Tunisian crochet and other handwork for the retreat. The children have been joining in and participating with the various crafting classes. This year, Ricky created a glass stone bowl soldered with copper and tin. Joey needle-punched a design of her own. We tie-dyed shirts, and hand-dyed many yarns and silks. Ricky and I, on our down time, whittled manzanita branches into knives!

We love the company of our creative friends, and the food was fantastic! What makes the retreat so wonderful for us is that, as a family, we can enjoy our tent pitched under a magnificent oak with birds singing, and the sun would rise warmly over the hills. And together, we can engage our family spirit in creative work that we all love.

the morning view from our tent

preparing yarn for dyeing

dyeing yarn


assembling the glass and copper bowl

impromptu music

our gosh yarn it! store at the retreat

hand-dyed yarns

teaching a tunisian crochet class


crafting all weekend

our weekend work

Saturday, May 8, 2010

gnomes, stones, footlongs

birthday at the river

a peaceful gnome
on river stones
friends of a feather
in sunset weather

eleven in may
a heavenly day
dark brown hair
smiley and fair

the girl grows
the family knows
our love flows
like a river

Joey celebrated her 11th birthday this Friday, May 7. We strolled down to the river near our home. She discovered Subway sandwiches recently and the footlong Veggie Delight on Italian bread with provolone cheese, onions, tomatoes, olives, lettuce, green peppers, oil and vinegar, salt and pepper is her favorite, so we had a footlong picnic by the river!

I had the roasted chicken with barbeque sauce, shared with Wilson.

Joey got a gnome home as her birthday present, and Jennifer needle felted the acorn-capped wood sprite. We watched families of ducks and geese paddle by, and skipped rocks when they had gone ashore to forage.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

may faire

may day at east bay

over in the meadow
where the school meets the sun
lives a dear teacher
and the children having fun
love, says the teacher
we love, they say as one,
so they work and learn and play
in the springtime sun

At East Bay Waldorf, the community of faculty, families, and friends gathered together for their May Day celebration on the magical knoll where the school meets the sun. The meadow at the heart of the school, where the children would play kickball during the week, was transformed into the May Queen's Royal Court.

With guitar in hand, a rosemary and oak branch crown on my head, and a levity of spirit in my heart, I participated in my first May Day with a Waldorf school, leading the second grade in a song, and joining other musicians in playing for the May pole dance. The concerted efforts of all the faculty and dedicated families are what brought joyfulness to the day. Blessed with sun and a gentle Bay breeze, the reverent revelry was picture perfect!

The May Queen sat on a raised portion of the meadow under an arch festooned with spring flowers and roses. Grades one through three offered folk songs, including some in German and Spanish. Class Four recited a verse. Class Five and Eight, under the direction of the eurythmy teacher, danced around the May pole to create intricate ribbon patterns against the blue sky. The orchestra teacher provided accompaniment with the strings students, some percussion, and my guitar strumming. A marionette play, crafts, and games rounded out the festivities. Class Eight also continued their fund raiser by offering strawberry shortcakes. Class Six helped with pizzas and other refreshments. The families brought picnic lunches, and enjoyed the day with children laughing and playing.

Being an honored part of the faculty until the end of the school year, I experienced and witnessed the striving of a dedicated staff to bring even just a couple of hours of May Faire joy to the community. The planning, meetings, practicing, preparing, phone calls - tasks that go mostly unnoticed and unrecognized - by the staff whose work life often seems like it is their whole life, somehow, day after day, will pull from a wellspring of their inner selves to enrich the lives of the children.

May Day is more than the symbolic celebration of the vitality of spring, it is the celebration of the life long commitment of continued growth and striving, and the strength of the educator's will forces.