Thursday, January 29, 2009

Variations on Hamlet

The Norwegian Forces (Olaf Coffey, Ellie Vegdahl-Crowell, Nyrie Mietzke, and Anna Hawkins-Saurer), rapiers at the ready, sat in the balcony before the Holden School's performance of Variations on Hamlet began. When I walked over below them to take a picture, Elli said."Wanda! we're not supposed to be seen up here! But you can take just one more picture!" I complied. and happily so.

Just as is true with school performances everywhere, proud parents (cameras at the ready), friends, and family members gathered round the fireplace-that-serves-every-purpose-under-the-sun-except-a-fireplace for the evening's entertainment. Elementary school teacher, Steve Marks, videotaped the evening's entertainment. Principal Karen Walters came from Chelan for a regular visit, an Open House, and the evening performance. (Karen is there just over the top of Dave Mietzke's for-some-reason upside down and inside out hat. She is in the royal blue top and is wearing glasses.)
Joseph Coffey was persuaded to put his knitting needles aside for the duration and to begin the program with his own imaginative version of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). Wearing a University of Oregon sweat shirt, he billed himself as Professor Adam Long of the University of Oregon.

From Hamlet, Act Five, Scene 2 (and left to right) we have Horatio (Katie Benjamin), King Claudius (Grace Coffey), Hamlet (Raina Borges), and Laertes (Joseph Coffey, still without his knitting and without the Oregon sweat shirt!).

Atop the central fireplace, a sword fight between Hamlet and Laertes. Lord Osric (Andrew Dutcher) looks on from the sidelines.

From the throne, Fortinbras, Prince of Norway (August Carpenter), prepares to place the crown on his own head. At his feet, the corpse of Queen Gertrude (Ingrid Chiles).

The final act of the evening was a short play (Words, Words, Words) by David Ives. From front to back, Jonathon swift (Maya Norton), John Milton (Cailan Carpenter) and Franz Kafka 9Marta Vegdahl-Crowell) in the familiar pose of "hear no evil," "see no evil," "speak no evil."

Marta Vegdahl-Crowell playing a monkey, inadvertently begins typing the script of Hamlet.

While the play was the major centerpiece of the evening's entertainment, it followed an Open House for the elementary school students and the initial performance of the vespers service just completed by Will Chiles who is here on a creative resource residency for a month. When he wasn't cooking in the kitchen, doing garbo, or serving on dish team, he was writing music.
Just another evening at Holden.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Holden Version of a Sleigh Ride

Those of you who have been to Holden might recognize this particular bench we are sitting on. It normally sits outside the door on the porch of the west end of the dining hall. On Saturday night, however, it served its time on the Holden Village Multi-Use for All Practical and Impractical Purposes by serving as a sit-down heard me!

You take the bench, attach it to a platform /frame, attach the platform to skis, add a patchwork quilt for cuteness and a lantern for nostalgic effect, add ropes to the front and VOILA!! you have a sled for transporting villagers to the Utilities Department AAA (Above Average Ambiance) Coffee House, held on this evening in the "Koinonia Center for the Performing Arts."

Those who wished to be transported to this special event in style met the sled at the foot of Chalet Hill and "draft horses" (young men "drafted" into serving as such) whisked you (literally) down the road to Koinonia...two in front pulling and two behind pushing. The pace was actually quite fast. On this night, the road was hard-packed with snow and ice, and additional snow was falling.
Here, Liz Langeland, Carole Young and I are seated in the sled and ready to go. Left over from Christmas, the reindeer antlers provide adornment for one of the draft horses, John Chiles.

And away we go!!
Note: I forgot my camera. Photos of this amazing means of transportation were provided by Joan Neslund and Liz Langeland.

Holden Celebrates the Inauguration

The stars of the Advent season still hanging in the space above Koinonia's fireplace, the Holden community gathered to attend the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States, Barak Obama. We did not have front row seats. We were unable to access the media necessary to view the occasion in what is called "real time." We had to content ourselves with a stream of just the "real time" audio.

Observance of the inauguration had actually begun on the day before with the morning's matins given by Paul Haines, our Public Works Manager. His words so clearly represented the overall sentiments of Holden Village that I thought it informative and instructive to include them here. He graciously provided me with a copy of his remarks at that morning service.

Monday, January 19, 2009
Paul Haines

Today is especially significant. It is the eve of the inauguration of our 44th President,
Barack Obama and the National Holiday to recognize and celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King’s life, legacy, and living message of human rights and equality.

What does This Inauguration Mean to You?

I wish I could be unique in my reply but I am like millions of others who are inspired by President Elect Obama and his new administration. It has been a long time since we have entered a President's term with hope, social compassion and the trust that our federal government can lead with sound policies, practices, and judgment.

I found myself in recent years apologizing often for the economic, energy and foreign policies of the United States to new friends everywhere when I traveled to other countries. While always polite, the well-informed residents of the rest of the world clearly expressed how the US was not the model it once was for hope that everyone could be blessed with human rights, safety and dignity.

Clearly it has not been just an international issue. We have been so polarized in the US that it has been hard to talk politics with anyone of a different view. I clearly believe this polarization is already reducing and giving way to reasoned opinion. I give much credit to President Elect Obama who publicly demonstrates how to build bridges with those of opposing views and cultural differences. It has built my hope that our preoccupation of living in fear of those we regard as different can be changed to curiosity and hospitable actions.

President Obama offers us that needed hope and inspiration to mobilize great actions again. His insight on how to pull us all together is evident in many expressed choices he’s made including cabinet decisions, early calls to legislative action, and his extensive network of grass root issues gathering. Our ability to regain a trusted position on the world and home stages is crafted in these choices.

I am equally looking forward to my public service during his presidency. The chance to have public service be viewed as an honored career is priceless. Working to make a difference locally will be benefited by President Obama's administration's forethought and leadership.

I am anticipating that during the next 4 and 8 years the momentum needed to heal and fix what ails us will be created. As you can see, my hope is already converting to anticipation.

Please thank Mr. Obama and his family from all of us for all they have done and for taking on what is ahead. My pride of being an American citizen is reemerging and it feels great.

It has always been important we understand why a day of national recognition was created in honor of Dr. King. It is not just a long weekend but a day to invest in our living together in peace, with compassion, in service to others and community, for social justice and with gracious hospitality for everyone.

An Affirmation of Faith Based on the Writings of Dr. King

I refuse to believe that we are unable to influence the events which surround us.

I refuse to believe that we are so bound to racism and war, that peace, brotherhood and sisterhood are not possible.

I believe there is an urgent need for people to overcome oppression and violence, without resorting to violence and oppression.

I believe that we need to discover a way to live together in peace, a way which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of this way is love.

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality.

I believe that right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.

I believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits.

I believe that what self-centered people have torn down, other-centered people can build up.

By the goodness of God at work within people, I believe that brokenness can be healed. "And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together, and everyone will sit under their own vine and fig tree, and none shall be afraid."

Closing Prayer

Gracious God…grant us all (including our new president) the wisdom, endurance and grace to continue the march Dr King began and inspire us to spill off Main Street to every neighborhood of our lives. Lead us to that Promised Land of human equality, peace between neighbors, selfless love and joyous song. We pray our country and the world be made ready for the inspired dreams of Dr. King to infect us all and spread with the thoroughness of a pandemic revelation. In the Light of your Holy name…let the people say…..AMEN!

On the morning of the inaugeration, our IT "person" (Carole Young) worked from her perch in the balcony of Koinonia to provide TV coverage of the event. Unfortunately, we did not have the band width on our satellite to get live feed pictures, but we were able to log on to NPR and hear the audio.

Students in the Holden School were released from class and attended the event to hear their new President.

Students from St. Olaf College here for J-Term also attended the inaugeration event in Koinonia. Here three of the students kick back, relax, and listen to the new President.

In the meantime, community members gather around the Koinonia fireplace below to share in the experience.

At the playing of the National Anthem, members of the audience stood and sang the anthem even though we could not see those who were singing at the Capitol. This is the view from above of one part of the audience below.

This is the view of the audience on the other side.
Members of the Holden Village community were unanimous in wishing the new President well on both his first day in office and for the duration of his Presidency. Prayers were lifted on his behalf on the day of his swearing in and on subsequent days as well.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Freezing Fog

The days are very cold.
We yearn for snowfall
But, I am told,
It is too cold to snow.
Instead, we have
"A freezing fog."

This is a dense fog.
Heavy with moisture,
It does not seem to drift
Weightless through the valley,
But seems merely to form
In place, hang there, sit.

The sun, shining through it,
A white and mighty glare.
The sun, shining on it,
The prospect of a gun-metal gray wall.

Whatever it touches
Receives the kiss of ice.
Tree branches are encased,
Leaves encrusted.
Evergreens are flocked,
Rocks frosted.

Venture forth for very long,
And you will find
Your chest
A bib of ice.