It isn't summer without Village Harmony

While I was off on all my history jaunts, Elizabeth was at Village Harmony. Village Harmony is this fun concept where musicians go around the world to tiny villages to collect songs. They bring them back to the U.S. and then offer singing camps and retreats for teens and adults.  

After the participants learn all the music they go on tour to tiny villages in Quebec and New England. The villages put together potluck dinners and host the teens.  So, the villages all come together in many ways though food, music, and fellowship. 

Here they are on the last night singing a song with prose from Wendell Berry. It is incredibly beautiful.

Slowly, slowly, they return
To the small woodland let alone:
Great trees, outspreading and upright,
Apostles of the living light.

Patient as stars, they build in air
Tier after tier a timbered choir,
Stout beams upholding weightless grace
Of song, a blessing on this place.

They stand in waiting all around,
Uprisings of their native ground,
Downcomings of the distant light;
They are the advent they await.

Receiving sun and giving shade,
Their life's a benefaction made,
And is a benediction said
Over the living and the dead.

In fall their brightened leaves, released,
Fly down the wind, and we are pleased
To walk on radiance, amazed.
0 light come down to earth, be praised!

We picked up Liz this past weekend. This photo says so much about the power of music to cement friendships and world understandings. It was a difficult goodbye.

I am so happy that both girls have had Village Harmony in their lives. 


A Crazy Start to Summer

Every summer I teach a week-long summer institute for teachers on topics in history. This year we studied community history. Teaching 5 days straight all day long is pretty intense, but also wonderful. 

We took over this small town--here I am setting off with a group to study architecture.

The community wondered why all these people were staring at their houses and taking notes. We met a lot of people who then joined in!

We learned about how to teach history in the cemetery.

Here's a page from one of the teachers' journals.

We even ventured into the woods to explore old cellar holes.

It was a fantastic week.  I have two jobs right now and the day after the institute ended, I found myself at our local industrial history museum training 5 teenagers for their summer intern jobs. They are a great group of kids and I enjoy working with them.

July 4th saw us in New Hampshire for a quick overnight in between trips. I had a property owner meeting to go to. Helen and Nelson headed off for a photo at our traditional bridge to commemorate her new college status.

Nelson and I had a breather for one day which we really needed as big changes are coming to our family. We needed to walk and talk.

We met this friend on our hike.

And then...the very next day Helen and I headed off on the train, bound for New York City. I took 15 teachers (many of whom were also on the train) for a week of intensive history workshops and tours.

Helen and I got an afternoon on our own. We visited the Guggenheim.

...and saw Pippin. Helen was so happy to see her first Broadway show.

I took the teachers to study immigration at the Tenement Museum.

We visited a synagogue...

...and had walking tours and workshops in Chinatown.

We got home and I spent the weekend back at the museum teaching kids how to make telegraphs.

This might have been the craziest 6 weeks of my working life. The fact that I am actually blogging speaks to the fact that maybe I'm catching my breath.


A Poignant June

June brought a lovely high school graduation and many days of family and visitors--so fun!

It all began with a beautiful Baccalaureate service at Rollins College on the Dartmouth campus.


It was clear how much Helen's teachers admired her on Class Day. She received several awards for her work in the English, Music, and Theatre departments.

Graduation was wonderful--great speeches and a happy girl!

Helen's friends showed up to surprise her.

Nelson's parents were with us for the week and had a big surprise!  Their "daughter" from Sweden came with her family for a surprise visit on the day after graduation. Helena lived with them for a year as an exchange student and has remained connected ever since.

The next day the extended family came for an afternoon party. It was lovely to see everyone. We played lawn games and had a big luncheon. We surprised Helen with a gelato cake.

Just as we were about to pour 18 champagne glasses for a toast, we discovered the water was fading. We quickly switched over to plastic.  Here are the menfolk investigating in the basement. With 10 people for dinner one night and 18 visiting the next day, no wonder the water had trouble keeping up.

The month ended on a sad note as our friend Eva came home from her spinning class, collapsed, and died. It was shocking for the entire community. Her service was held at the beloved Strafford Meeting House where hundreds of people filled the building, spilling out on to the lawn.

 It was a hard end to the month. Here's my friend Eva with her daughter, Helen's friend Becca.


May brought....

May was as beautiful a month as ever in Vermont. For Mother's Day we took a picnic up to Mount Tom which is close to our home. It was a lovely day to get outside and enjoy the fresh air.

May also sees some warmer weather. We opened up our porch and Nelson and Liz made a new base for our table out of pipes. I love it!

Another very exciting spring event is the annual shaving of our cat. He has extremely long hair--by spring there are cat dreadlocks all over the house. He doesn't look happy here, but he actually does feel better with the shave. 

May brought Helen's 18th birthday. Her big birthday treat was to go to New York City with a friend. They negotiated the city pretty much on their own. It was a big adventure.

Her favorite cake is called "can cake." You bake the cakes in 16 oz cans and then slice them up.

For some reason, the girls love "animal onesie's."  Helen received a Lemur onesie from a friend. The girls got down and jived in their onesie's after the birthday dinner.  I am always startled when I go up to their room on a cool, rainy day and find them lying in their onesies reading.  Maybe I didn't dress them warmly enough when they were babies.

Nelson has become a runner. This race, "Road to the Pogue" is a 10K that goes up the mountain we climbed on Mother's Day. He did quite well and is now training for a 1/2 marathon. 

He has completely transformed his life this year.

Finally, our big May tradition is to tour open studios on Memorial Day weekend. 

We have visited this blacksmith many times. Here's another "now and then."

Here I am with Helen enjoying a "maple cremee." A true Vermont treat.

Our girls have fallen in love with a crepe restaurant called "The Skinny Pancake." We managed to include it for lunch on our studio tour day. It was a lovely end to May.


Film pursuits

Each spring our local arts community puts on an Indie Film Festival. It has been getting bigger with many more film professionals joining in. There are workshops, screenings, and film slams.


This year they had a 48-hour film slam which Helen and a group of friends participated in. On Friday night they received the prompt, genre (drama), and parameters (they had to use a screensaver and do some digital mixing).  Here's their film:

 Helen was having a very stressful weekend trying to decide on college, stage managing Wizard of Oz rehearsals for school, AND doing this film at all hours. We went to the screening on Sunday night and....they won 1st place and $500. It was a banner end to a very eventful weekend.


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