Saturday, May 25, 2013

Four Songs Before You Go

Four Songs Before You Go

For the 2013 Graduates of Blue Ridge School
As your high school days come to an end,
There is joy and celebration,
Most of the time is exactly that,
But often there also creeps in,
Especially in those in between times,
The more quiet times,
The moments when you find yourself alone,
Doubt, apprehension, fear, worry,
For the next steps you take you plan,
For the first time in your life you have options,
And though options are exciting,
Though freedom is life and chains are not,
There is contentment in limitation.
Limits are safe, structure soothes,
Though you've yearned to rebel,
Part of you has become sated
By the comforts of status quo,
For eighteen years is a long time
To be a child, and all you've known
For twelve of those years is now over.

But for you Barons of 2013,
In the midst of one of those moments
The quieter, somber moments,
When reflective thoughts find you,
Take a second and let this place,
Not the people but the place
The chapel of the valley,
Sing a hymn to your ears,
Caress your face with its breathing,
Let the combination of echoes
The four songs of the senses
Teach you one last time,
And send you off with truth,
For it sings anew just for you
A message never heard before
Sung now for you and your brothers,
So in that moment close your eyes
For sight's dominance must be delayed
Your eyes get their chance, but last,
This journey needs to commence
With the heightened sense of blindness.
When your eyes are closed,
The ears are first, so listen closely
Have you heard their song this week?
The cicadas sing your processional,
They too know the chains,
Closed deep in the earth,
Waiting, longing, looking ahead,
Trapped for a time, now released they sing:


"Live for now for you are free,
We are the same you and we
Our prison the dirt inside the ground
Yours the school's structured sound
But now you're out, your work is done
Your lessons learned, so go have fun
Celebrate for life is fleeting
The clock is ticking, your youth retreating,
The future you work for doesn't exist
So fill your now with every bliss
Forget it now all your work and see
This moment is the best you'll be."

 Those lyrics the cicadas sing unceasing
In their one note song, on and on,
So while you listen with your eyes still closed,
Feel the cool breeze on  your face,
As it lovingly caresses your shaven cheeks,
Whispering  a silent song just for you:


"So cool so comfortable, even in May,
Here you're safe, why don't you stay,
We made it cool just for you
It was the least that we could do
For it's us who cares, the world does not
Why want more than what you've got
You're still so young, so shy, so weak
The world out there is awful bleak
Listen to your fears, and from them shrink
You are not as ready as you think
Stay my child, stay here, stay young,
Sing our song, leave yours unsung."

So does that cool breeze seem to say
For who would want to leave here
On a gorgeous day like shines today,
But while you listen and while you feel,
Breathe in that faint smell of delayed spring,
For spring stuck around just for you.
The flowers' blooms begin to fade,
But their scent symphony remains:


"Remember how beautiful we use to be,
When rainbow colors filled were we,
And the smell of us burned your eye
Was it just the pollen that made you cry?
Or did you think you wouldn't get through
When tests were looming and papers were due?
You were right to worry, right to doubt
Right to think about bowing out
For you only made it through
By all that people did for you,
But now you go out on your own
And you'll only fail when left alone."

Now having heard that you are free,
And having felt that you were safe,
And having smelt the smell of fear,
Open your eyes, and look around you,
You'll see the dead cicadas at your feet,
For they are not like you at all,
And you'll see that the breeze
Blows out of this valley into the world as well,
And that fresh buds are ready to bloom
Refreshed to another round of challenges,
And keep looking, and notice again
The joy gleaming from your brothers' faces,
The memories mirrored in each other's eyes,
The pride shining from your teachers' glances,
And the love from your parent's smiles,
Your eyes again take their sensory lead
And they tell your brain to bravely sing:


"Today is the day where life begins
I get to walk now with my friends
We'll soak it in and we'll be proud,
Of what we've done while time allowed.
Now time moves on and we must go
Our paths diverge apart we know,
But we'll remember standing here
Arm in arm, with fears, in tears
And on that day in the future we
Will be beyond these fears you see,
For each step we take, we take in doubt,
Until after it has all worked out."

And now your melancholy moment
Of doubt has come and gone,
Return to the celebration,
You've earned it. Congratulations!
                            ~ Rev. Peter T. Atkinson