The great outdoors, and then . . .

By Tim Smith

Where A r[ts] Thou?

The @ home edition

Vol #1

A family member has recently taken up painting and I wish that I had her canvas and paints as last weekend, we finally were able to carve out a weekend for camping. We only had to drive about an hour to the west to rediscover a site that we had visited a few years back, and what a pleasant surprise awaited us.

Our earlier camping had been in the heat of the summer and what a difference it was now as fall was gracefully emerging. For North Texas that means warm days, gentle breezes and cool nights.

I was able to venture out in the kayak and only wish that I was braver – needed my camera in order to capture those autumn tones.

There you have it, whether through painting, photography, logging potential entries in the family journal around the campfire, or quietly meditating on the outdoor experience in a tent, there is the potential for creating meaningful art while surrounded by nature.

We are going to break away from our regular weekend scheduling and enjoy even more camping as long as the weather holds. Not sure this “new normal” can hold up for some winter camping just yet.

Before leaving the work of Dr. Ken Robinson, Ph.D., that I have been highlighting recently, I wanted to finish his retelling of the journey of Gillian, the young lady that he features in his book,” The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything: Written with Len Aronica.”

Remember, Gillian’s family had taken her to a doctor fearing that she might have a learning disorder because of her inability to stay focused in a traditional classroom setting.

When we had left Gillian’s mother at the doctor’s office, she had been assured that her daughter did not have a learning disability, she just moved to a different, and (as it turns out, rhythmic), beat and therefore, she needed to be enrolled in a dance school.

Dr. Robinson concludes, “I asked Gillian what happened then. She said her mother did exactly what the psychologist suggested. 'I can’t tell you how wonderful it was,' she told me. 'I walked into this room, and it was full of people like me. People who couldn’t sit still. People who had to move to think.'”

He continues: “She started going to dance school every week, and she practiced at home every day. Eventually, she auditioned for the Royal Ballet School in London, and they accepted her. She went on to join the Royal Ballet Company itself, becoming a soloist and performing all over the world. When that part of her career ended, she formed her own musical theatre company . . . Eventually, (Gillian Lynne) met Andrew Lloyd Webber and created with him some of the most successful musical theatre productions in history, including 'Cats' and 'The Phantom of the Opera.'”

I recommend two other Ken Robinson books, “Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education: Written with Lou Aronica,” and “Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative.”

I received a note from a dear friend from my high school days, (talk about a long past season of life), who was the driving force behind the launching of an annual scholarship for the study of the performing arts at the collegiate level. It was established to honor our former high school vocal music educator.

It is the sixth anniversary of this commitment, and seeing the faces of the previous winners does my heart good knowing how they are going to impact their worlds.

For jazz lovers: I invite you to check out the Amelia Island Jazz Festival that is taking place this week, virtually. Visit their website for ticket information. In its 17th year, events like this all over the world are challenged due to the virus, and would welcome your support. I like the fact that for the session I am going to attend, and as I have a prior engagement, I will still be able to view it for three days after the fact

If I may, and how timely given the scholarship example above: The featured vocalist for the team producing the Amelia Island festival is another high school colleague who also studied under the aforementioned teacher. She has proudly carried his foundations from that period to a wonderful career statement.

“Forever Hometown” – A big salute to The Toy and Action Figure Museum in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma on the celebration of its 15th year, (opening day: 10-15-05) of bringing small – many, many, small and colorful reminders of our collective youth in its wonderful downtown facility. This has been a tough year due to the virus, so please check out their website before planning a trip. Support them when and as you can.

“The [jazz] songs remember when.”

t A s

(This is Where A r[ts] Thou? – The @ home edition – by Tim Smith, Vol. No. 1)

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