Sunday, 02 November 2014 02:12
By Joe Romano,
— Henry Van Dyke
We're rolling into that part of the year when Thanksgiving arrives, with its festive overtones and deeply misunderstood history. Most of us know that there are problems with the holiday as it's currently celebrated, so why not update the festivities?
Everyone enjoys a good meal and getting together with friends, neighbors, and family. And most of us have much to be thankful for. Since Americans have already built a perfectly good holiday season, and because this is one of the better events in it — you can, after all, eat and fall asleep without buying a single present — maybe we should keep it around ... with a few updates.
The name, Thanksgiving, is fine. A day to actually celebrate gratitude would be a great holiday, even for those among us who suffer trying circumstances in their lives. As a youth, for example, Alice Walker had less to be thankful for than many others did. The daughter of sharecroppers, her mother worked as a maid to help support the eight children in her family. She had what most Americans would call an underprivileged upbringing. When she was 8, she was shot in the eye with a BB pellet. The serious injury left her quite self-conscious of the scar on her face. She wanted nothing more than to be able to hide from the world, which, in her mind, was that of a young, disfigured black girl in the racially divided South of the 1950s. After all, what could she have to be thankful for? Instead of building hate or resentment, she managed to write words of gratitude: "'Thank you' is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding."
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 14:37
By Kath Tibbetts
I saw an article headline the other day stating that one in three children has never climbed a tree ... in fact, 60 percent of them would rather do just about anything but go outside. It got me thinking.
I was the kid who never climbed the trees at the local park. Afraid of hurting myself, I'd watch the rest of my cohort scramble up, dangle from, and jump off trees fearlessly, while I'd shuffle off to the swings. It's not that I didn't want to climb, I was simply petrified.
In the sixth grade, my folks started sending me to nature camp in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. For one week a summer, I would camp out on mountain ledges and swim in gorges. By the end of my first week, I had scaled and rappelled down a 100-foot rock wall. And I felt like a champion. At that camp, I learned how to build fires, maintain a compost pile, and simply be comfortable in the wilderness.
Unfortunately, today's average child is not exposed to the type of experience I had in the White Mountains. In fact, children are spending half as much time outside as their parents did when they were children. Richard Louv, journalist and author of Last Child in the Woods, says, "The child in nature is an endangered species."
In the Ithaca area, we're fortunate to have several groups working to combat this issue. I reached out to Tim Drake and Jed Jordan of Primitive Pursuits, a local nature-based education organization ("Get Out and Stay Out" is one of their tongue-in-cheek taglines), to get their take. They told me that they see their work as a sort of "cultural intervention" aimed at bringing a necessary and healthy relationship with the natural world back into our modern society.
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 13:08
By Joe Romano, Marketing Manager
You don't get harmony when everybody sings the same note.
— Doug Floyd
If you've ever sung karaoke with other people, you may know the experience. You get up to sing, oh, let's say, "Don't Stop Believin,'" by Journey. Everyone up on stage has a slightly different sense of the pitch, the cadence, and the timing. Some hold notes longer; some start them sooner. The four or five of you, all trying to sing the same thing, don't quite pull it off. Worse, when you try to adjust to get in unison, you end up even farther out of sync. The whole scene usually devolves into one in which each singer just starts wailing louder and louder until all in attendance are left feeling kind of bruised, and as for the song, well, you might just stop believin' altogether.
If, on the other hand, the singers are practiced in the art of harmony, everyone in the room will have a very different experience. Each singer will occupy their own vocal space and, though they're all singing different notes, perhaps even different words, they will have each found their own voice in the song, all the while remaining in unwavering relationship. These singers have found harmony, each singing a different song in time with the others. Those in attendance feel uplifted, because the space resonates with connection, and engages even those who are not singing. This is the nature of cooperation. We are not asked to all become the same when we cooperate; we all bring our very different voices, different lives, and different needs.
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By Alexis Alexander,
I'm thrilled to announce that Blue Sky Mission Club will perform at our annual Springtime Dance Party in the Parking Lot on Thursday, May 21. As every Ithaca dance-lover knows, May is the month when the outdoor music-and-dance season begins in earnest, brightening our lives as the rich bounty of local talent fills the streets and parks throughout the region. What...