May We Grow With the Trees

“May we grow with the trees
May our hearts be at ease
May our education be
a lifelong ceremony”
~from The Rainbow Room Song, written with students at the Boggs School, April 2020

Hearing the gentle evening serenade of the cicadas. Noticing the vibrant orange blooms of the butterfly milkweed. Seeing the sun reflecting on the waves of Lake Michigan as it drifts towards the western horizon. Singing in the shade of a giant tulip tree. I welcome summer in Anishinaabe Aki, the land of the People of the Three Fires.

This, a season like none that has come before, presents us with our vulnerabilities as humans, our deep interdependence, and the vast racial and economic disparities of our society. The pandemic of Covid-19 and the pandemic of police brutality and violence against Black people and People of Color have laid bare the truths of enduring injustice and systemic racism that is rooted in the foundation of America.

In spite of the evasiveness and negligence of a willfully ignorant president, I have been encouraged by the consistent peaceful uprisings of people from all races and ethnicities who are awakening to the need for healing justice. Here we are, singing, praying, meditating, social distancing, marching, drawing, stretching, sketching, writing, riding, grieving, crying, meeting, smiling, laughing, listening, breathing; growing towards something greater and more inclusive than we have known before.

This is not a linear path, and there is no one perfect solution to the traumatic legacies inherited from centuries of racial oppression. Yet there are so many paths to healing. Infinite ways to learn how to be together, how to hold one another, how to listen deeply and be present to one another’s suffering. Music and songs are vital to these efforts. Our shared heartbeat. Our shared breath. The vibration of our being. Our common humanity.

We are creative, resilient, and good, we human beings. Remind yourself! Remind your neighbors! May we embody this goodness in small and great actions. May we use our gifts to help feed the fire of awakening that is burning away the fear and ignorance and transforming hatred into love. May we be the change we wish to see in the world.

I have some live streams and live shows coming up this summer (I am only agreeing to do outdoor performances where physical distancing will be supported). I have decided to move my Happy Songs mindfulness and songwriting camp online to protect the safety of all participants, making it now available to children from any geographic location. Please read on for performance and camp dates, and for a special musical self-care package just for you!

Growing with you and with the trees,

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