Festival of Courage
Autumn brings shorter days, longer nights, colder temperatures, falling leaves, and mountain mists. As we have now passed the Autumn Equinox in the cycle of the year and are moving toward the Winter Solstice (the shortest daylight of the year), the hours of darkness stretch longer.
I have often noticed that when we move toward a destination, the excitement and anxiety of reaching that destination sometimes outmatches the feeling of when we actually arrive. I wrote these lines in a poem once:
The darkest night of the year
Is never as dark as
Along with swollen pumpkins, ripe corn, and yummy squash, autumn can bring a sense of anxiety as we find each day a little less light than the one before. This outward darkening can be reflected within our souls. At this time of year, we even celebrate the demons and ghosts that might haunt us, and recognize those who have died.
Courage is required to face such things with honesty. The images of dragon-slaying and facing our fears with courage during this season are offered by several traditional cultures. St. Michael facing the dragon is one such image, and the autumn festival of Michaelmas is recognized in many Waldorf schools at this time of year.
The students at Mountain Song Community School celebrated this Festival of Courage in two recent events: the Obstacle Course on Thursday, October 3rd, and a participatory pageant presented by both 7th grades at the Friday Assembly on October 4th.
Under the guidance of Mrs. Neal, Games and Movement Teacher, the 7th and 8th grade students prepared an Obstacle Course for the younger students in grades 1-6 last Thursday. The course had a series of stations placed throughout the front and back playgrounds as well as the gym. One by one, classes came out, listened to a story, and then challenged themselves to a series of tasks with the help of the 7th and 8th graders. To complete the obstacle course, students had to perform feats of strength, balance, skill, concentration, and courage. Students rejoiced in their accomplishments! At the end, each class was greeted with a basket of crisp apples.
Then on Friday morning last week, the 7th graders led the school in a dramatic pageant depicting the taming of a dragon through wisdom, courage, and grace. Some of the 7th graders formed the dragon that wound its way through the gym, while other 7th graders on stage narrated the exciting events. Different classes stood and recited in chorus poems that evoked virtues that help us rise to our better selves, and Ms. Tafoya and Mr. Dolce each played their parts too.
We are proud to have so many brave, courageous, and warm-hearted students and families at Mountain Song. The word “courage” has its roots in the Latin “cor,” which means heart. We love the incredible hearts of the children and community at Mountain Song.