Friday, March 18, 2011

Writing of A Peaceful Place

A writer, in essence, is a storyteller.

Sometimes the story told is another's; other times it is her own.

It can be bold and complex - an intricate tale with many connecting thoughts - or a simpler presentation that captures a moment. Like a perfect summer day.

In the eight years that I've been closely tied to Chelsea Elementary School - when my oldest child was a kindergartner - I've come to appreciate it as a wellspring of creativity and self-expression.

In spite of the school's smallness and its relative lack of resources compared to others, there exists among its teachers and staff a strong appreciation for art, music and writing - creative outlets for students that can sometimes be cast aside as less important than other academic areas during a budget-tightening process.

This appreciation - and the continuing encouragement and support given to Chelsea's students - is one of the reasons I love our small-town school.

For it is this support that is creating the next generation of artists, musicians and writers.

Writers like my daughter Grace.

As part of a recent writing prompt, students were asked to write about a "peaceful place." Grace wrote the following poem about a morning spent climbing Camden's Mt. Battie with friends last summer.

As I walk up the hill, my little brother yells, "Blueberries, blueberries!"
I reach the top in astonishment and see a stone wall, sort of like a castle tower.
"It's so beautiful," I say.
When I climb to the top of the tower, I feel peaceful.
Like a princess at the top of her castle, clearing all her thoughts.
I hear the birds chirping, singing their songs.
I taste the wonderful blueberries in my mouth.
I feel the wind on my elegant shoulders.
I see the beautiful ocean.
I smell every flower from miles and miles away.
I know this old castle needs a new princess, though.
My real kingdom is home.

Who knows what the future holds for Grace and her fellow students with regard to their creative energies.

Will they become professional musicians, artists or writers compensated for their talents? Only time will tell.

For the moment, though, they are supported in their efforts to express themselves - to tell their own paint or sculpt, to sing their songs and play their music.

And, in doing so, they are able to beautifully capture a a warm summer morning atop a castle, eating wild blueberries and glancing at an ocean coastline with a horizon full of possibilities.

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