The Walk Through
The day was beautiful. The sun was shining and the breeze was cool. We arrived at the school at 10:30 or so.
Alex joined his class and I joined the parents. I noticed that all the parents had flowers and I didn’t. Shucks. I forgot. No problem. I asked one who had a bunch of bunches and she sold me one. Great. I now had a bunch of white carnations that I could give my son, his best friends, and my ex-students from the Davis Waldorf School when I was their Spanish teacher.
Soon, it was time for us to start the Walk Through. This is what the Sacramento Waldorf School calls the last day of school for the seniors. It is their time to say good-bye to all the classes, teachers, and parents, and hence, have a closing to their many years at the school. I understand that the Sacramento Waldorf School is the only Waldorf School which has such a rite of passage. Lucky us!
Anyway, we all follow the class of 2006 into the garden that belongs to the Kindergarten. There they were, waiting and holding a flower.
The seniors formed a circle and the small children all wearing a flower garland that they had made, recited a verse and sang a song, in a typical way of kindergarteners. I remember when Alex was that little, his teacher asked: what is it with this vibrato when he sings? She never knew what a powerful soprano he was to become until his voice changed at age 14 or so. He still can do a great falsetto.
Anyway. After they received the flowers from the small children and were leaving the grounds of the Kindergarten, we parents spontaneously formed a tunnel for our children to pass under. It was very powerful and symbolic.
Then they went to the Lower School. Because the classes are very small and this is the biggest class ever to attend a Waldorf High School in this country, there was no way that the 46 of them, plus the parents, plus the other children’s parents would fit in each classroom.
To make sure that the walk would still be a beautiful experience, the teachers decided that the children from all the grades would form a walkway under the veranda that connects all the classrooms.
So from both sides, there was a line of about 200 children or so holding roses and other flowers. It was a sight to see. The line started with 1st graders and ended with the 8th graders and that meant that we could see the line slanting upwards, according to the children’s age and height. Beautiful.
So here come the seniors and at the end of each class they stopped their walk and the class teacher made a little good-bye speech and the children presented them with songs and verses. Each song was related to whatever the theme of the grade was. So they comprise among others of native, Hebrew, folk, animal and earth songs among others.
And after their song, the children gave each senior a flower. Two things were abundant during this passage: tears and flowers. Not one senior walked through with dry eyes. Parents, likewise. The flowers were just beautiful. They were so many and the scent so powerful that it put us in a state of awe. There were also a Rumi poem and Beatles songs.
The last song was sung by the High School, who then made another path for the seniors that led to the school’s big canopy where the school assembles at the beginning and end of the school year. “Let It Be” it was. And now there were hugs and tears and good-byes in profusion, for they are all their HS friends.
After that, forming the lines were the HS teachers. More tears and more hugs. And finally we, the parents.
So ended the walk; the whole school gathered beneath the canopy. All the classes were sitting on the ground according to grade. The seniors in line came up to the front, to the set of stairs that replace a stage. They were all hugging their flowers, oh so colorful and so fragrant! And there they were applauded as if they have just finished a most brilliant performance. I’d say they have.
At last, the bell started to ring, the whole school stood up and they were led by the seniors in one of their verses which is said every day during their school life. So this was the last bell that the seniors heard and the last time they said their verse, thus ending their Waldorf Education.
To wonder at beauty,
Stand guard over truth,
Look up to the noble,
Decide for the good;
Leads man on his journey
To goals for his life,
To right in his duties,
To peace in his feeling,
To light in his thought,
And teaches him trust
In the guidance of God
In all that there is;
In the world-wide all,
In the soul’s deep soil.
Then the classes left and the seniors remained for last pictures. I didn’t take any. Figured that I might as well enjoy this last day and keep it in my heart.
As I already said, I was sobbing. After all, this is also the end of my Waldorf School years. Too many questions crossed my mind.
Will there be more talking of gnomes and fairies? Will there be birthday verses? Will there be morning verses? Will there be home-made bread and soup? Would I hear beautiful music and see more beautiful grounds than those of the Waldorf School campuses? Will I see more beautiful work of art on the walls and artifacts on display? Will there be candles on the table? Will there be nature tables expressing every passing season? Will there be blessings before the meals?
Will I hear the teachers singing when they call the children? Will I see such artistic drawings on the blackboards? Will I see square crayons and beeswax modeling “clay”? Will I see dolls without a face? Will I see scarves knitted in wool and embroidered napkins? Will I see knitted cases for their recorders? Will I see shields and hear Micael’s song in defeating the dragon? Will I sip hot cider and walk with a lantern to welcome the dark months of winter? Will I celebrate May Day and see dancing around the Maypole? Will I walk the perilous path during Halloween? Will I celebrate Advent with candles and walks? Will I see teenagers sitting, talking, and knitting?
Will I hear the faculty sing to the student and parent body? Will I see the beautiful Main Lesson Books? Will I hear inspired verses and songs created by my son and other children? Will I hear him sing with that powerful soprano voice of his? Will I read well written and interpreted and mature research papers? Will I see my son wear slippers while he moves to Eurhythmy? Will I see teachers hugging my son because he needs nurturing and love? Will I see teachers playing with my son? Will my son teach me what he is learning? Will I pack lunches?
Will my life be surrounded by such beauty and love?
My gratitude to the Waldorf Schools that embraced Alex and for the Waldorf Education that sculpted his soul transforming him into this beautiful human being that he is, is unlimited. From now on I say: I may have made some mistakes while raising Alex. But the Waldorf Education is the best gift I could bestow upon him.
Though I may not be ready to let him go, he, on the other hand is absolutely ready to take his first steps towards the world, forever wondering at beauty, standing guard over truth, looking up to the noble, and deciding on the good.
May God bless you and illumine your life, son of mine. I will be silently walking with you forever.