Reflection

Every so often we have the opportunity to reflect on the connections in our lives and notice how certain patterns have come Full Circle. Birthdays and anniversaries are particularly a good time for this. As I approach my birthday this month, I’ve had this window of opportunity.

While I was studying music as a teenager at the Manhattan School of Music preparatory program and playing in youth orchestras on Long Island, I met friends who attended a wonderful summer program in Vermont called Kinhaven. Although I never had the opportunity to attend myself, I always held a special place for it in my heart. I did, however, have the opportunity to work with Kinhaven’s music director, Jerry Bidlack, during a youth orchestra exchange program in Pennsylvania when I was a high school sophomore. I found out recently that Mr. Bidlack is a graduate from Oberlin Conservatory of Music, my Alma Mater.

Over thirty years later, I found myself driving down the dirt road that leads to Kinhaven’s door with my son Julian, our dogs and several bags of luggage, music and percussion mallets. The dogs and I headed back through Vermont’s Green Mountains before the thunderstorm hit. Whereas, Julian unpacked his belongings into his cabin and settled into what promises to be one of the most exciting and awarding summers of his lifetime.

There is another connection, too. While enjoying my birthday during my summers at Camp GlenBrook as a camper, my fellow campers and counselors would always sing me a special happy birthday song, which took the form of a round. (“We wish you a very happy birthday, a joyous and celebrating birthday, to our dear Margaret, we wish you a long, long life”). A decade later, I was teaching music at Camp GlenBrook and followed the tradition of leading that particular song every time a cake with lighted candles was brought to the table. Two decades later, I was leading the song at camp for a Garden City Waldorf School Reunion when someone jumped up and asked me how I knew that song. “That’s the song we always used to sing at Kinhaven Music Camp!” the man explained. I later discovered that Julian used to sing the same song at his former school, Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School. How the song travelled from Kinhaven to Glenbrook to Hawthorne Valley, we have yet to discover. However, what we do know is that there are connections in life and music way beyond the mutual facebook friends that show up on our computers every day.

Yesterday as I turned down the road past Kinhaven’s pond with the rolling hills in the distance and Julian greeting his new friends, I took a deep breath of the crisp Vermont air and gratefully thought of how this too, like many chapters in my life, has come Full Circle.