Dear Students and Families,
St. Andrew’s is far too quiet in the summer, and we are more than ready for all of our students to return to school! Over the past two weeks, as faculty have returned, it’s been such a pleasure to begin saying “happy new year,” to each one. And it is a new year, one that we have awaited all summer with great anticipation! Although many people see the fall season as a time of ending and senescence, the poets know better. From Keats to Mary Oliver, they have shown us those things that signal the coming winter contain the seeds of freshness and rebirth.
Each day this summer, as late June became July, and now in August, the setting sun has moved one click to the west, a pendulum that reached northward for the June solstice and then in time turned back to take its place across the fields. In my backyard this morning, where students will soon gather on the patio, I spotted the first of the goldfinches plucking the tiny seeds from the drying heads of the coneflowers, a certain harbinger of fall. On the School Farm, the field corn that flourished green in torrential rains begins to brown, the easier to see the full ears and spent, darkening silks. As you return to school down the main drive, the chestnut where the lane first curves has dropped a few spiky nuts. Just beyond that you’ll see hickory nuts beginning to drift, and we await the “pock pock” (Mary Oliver has this sound just right) of the acorns soon to follow.
Teachers also see the fall as a new year and a new beginning. Like acorns, our students bring with them all they need to flourish and grow. What is within each of them, and what they will find in others in this community, is everything they need. So, as you prepare for this year, pack light. Unstuff your bags, and remove items from the car. We focus on the fundamentals at St. Andrew’s, and possessions will distract us from our purpose and our practice in this new year. Let’s keep it simple, use less, take care of what we have, and, as a result, do more in human community: more joy, more understanding, more connection, more growth.
Parents and guardians, it is an honor to begin this new year with your children. Working with them is a calling and an inspiration; the trust you place in us is extraordinary and meaningful. I look forward to greeting you as you return in the coming days!