Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Evergreen garden

There are many things about Waldorf Education that resonate in my heart with a loud "yes". One of the most significant is the event frequently known as the Advent Spiral. It never ceases to amaze me how one can create such meaningful beauty in the simplest of ways. I've always had a thing for labyrinths, and a spiral is a very simple labyrinth. In our school, the windows of the Eurythmy room are darkened, many greens are hung, and a very simple spiral of greens is laid out on the floor. It has a long path into the center, where a single candle is lit on a stump of wood, and a short path out. The spiral is lovingly decorated with all kinds of rock crystals, some wooden animals, and cut out paper stars. The children receive a red apple with a sprig of green and a small candle from their teacher. They walk slowly to the stump, light their candle, and place it on one of the paper stars. When all the children have walked, the room is illuminated by 20 candles.

What makes this simple little ceremony so special is the wonderful accompanyment we enjoy from two master lyre players, the reverence that the teachers hold, and the loving care that has been taken in decorating the room so beautifully. The children's personalities are very much evident. In this group of Children's Gardeners, age 4 through 6, the older children strike out with purpose and confidence, ready to take the responsibility of showing the youngers how it is done. The little children want to hold hands with their parents, are often dreamily lost in the beauty of the crystals and wooden animals, and frequently loose their way in the spiral (the older kids find this hilarious).

I was deeply touched by today's ceremony. For one, I've been coming off a very busy couple of weeks, and simply sitting in a candlelit room fragrant with the smell of pine boughs, listening to beautiful lyre music and holding my youngest on my lap, was a wonderful reminder to breathe in this season of last minute errands and mile long to do lists. On another level though I saw my child, now one of the oldest in her class, show her readiness to leave the world of playsilks and sandcastles behind, ready to cross the bridge into First Grade in less than a year. Not only will I no longer have any truly little ones in the house, but I never could have imagined almost 7 years ago that I would be so fortunate to watch my little special girl overcome such huge challenges and walk in front of me towards the center of the spiral, prepared for life and all that will meet her.

I simply love these moments that make me stop and catch my breath, and realize how very very blessed my life is.


Anonymous said...

Oh yes, it is magical. I'm sad that my kids are missing that age timeframe that is so perfect for the Advent spiral. (Though going through one as an adult is wonderful too, so maybe it's not too late.)

Lovey said...

It IS wonderful to just sit and be in that moment in time. My girls are big and still walk it. It is too special to miss out on! :)