Winding Down

Am I still here?

I feel like I have been at the OK Coral. If you are not aware of that reference that is where Wyatt Earp and his brothers had a shootout with local outlaws (so they say.) It is not that I have been in a shootout, but in terms of life, and this time of year, it feels like the bullets have been flying. Just looking at the wind up for the school year is enough to make my eyes pop. An upcoming camping trip for the pre-teens, followed by a family camping trip in Brooklyn the next day, followed by a beach trip that Monday, which will be followed by a host of all kinds of year end events which lead into graduation. And that is just the school.

It is exciting though. Brooklyn Free School is an intense and growing community. And when I say community, I mean it. Having dinner last night with one of the key advisors, she suggested that we call our schools “Community Schools” rather than “Free” because it gets closer to the core of what we are and what we have become. It is clear that BFS is not just a place to set your child down to be free of the oppressive methods of public education. It is a place to be welcomed into. It has an influence on the whole family. The very nature of allowing a child to pursue their own inclinations, and be watchful at the same time, means that we as adults have to let go of some of the unnatural fears that were pounded into us. Sitting at a dinner table with one of the school’s teachers, and feeling that we have truly become a family is just one example.

We are living in a time where community may be the most important thing. It may be a matter of survival. The industrial world has successfully disrupted this natural need. It has divided us from our siblings, our parents, our children and sent us around the globe, only to be connected by phone and internet. The world economy has crashed and continues to do so. There is less opportunity for employment, not only because of economics, but because the way business is conducted requires less manpower. At the same time we are all still here. So what do we do?

Yesterday we went over to a friends garden to plant vegetables. The previous day I helped out in a community garden shoveling mulch and then joined a community meal. I see people as lost and isolated, and the poorest of us feel this impact the most. When we live in a world where one is told that they are only worthy if they have lots of stuff, then those without are excluded. The results are depression, anger, crime, addiction, and a myriad of other symptoms of disenfranchisement you can read on the news.

I do not feel very lucid today, so I am going to close off this particular discussion. I will soon be moving into temporary quarters in another part of Brooklyn. We are imagining it as our summer in Paris. We will be near the Brooklyn Museum, Botanic Gardens and Central Library. We will be a few blocks from Eastern Parkway which was fashioned after the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. Eastern Parkway leads into Grand Army Plaza which has an arch similar to the Arc de Triomphe. It’s not Paris, but it will be a respite to the chaos I have been living around.

Currently, I am not full of opinions, and have not had the impulse to rant. These posts are more like journal entries rather than articles, but the blog must remain active. Hopefully I will have some photos soon. The last day of school is not far away, and Lenny Schiller will once again grace the school with his vintage Good Humor Truck, showering the children with ice cream. Until then.

Lenny from last year’s last day of school.

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