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Wind from the Sea

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By Amy E. Imbody
President, Center for Redemptive Education
Essay #32 from Amy's book, Wind from the Sea: Essays in Redemptive Education.

A special exhibit at the National Gallery of Art highlighted paintings by Andrew Wyeth. Titled “Looking Out, Looking In,” the paintings all featured windows, often only a single window, with a notable absence of human figures. 
The most famous of these “window” pictures, “Wind from the Sea,” is typical of many Wyeth interiors: a shabby room, chipped wood sill and fading walls, a cracked window shade partially obscuring light, tattered lace curtains – all speaking of neglect and decay. Outside the window, we see a verdant forest, a grassy meadow through which some car or truck has left its tracks. We see only a hint of water that must be “the sea”; a broad sky. There is a marked contrast between the landscape and the gray room.
However, the curtains are not hanging limp, as one might envision them in such a state of abandonment. Wyeth explains: 
That summer in 1947 I was in one of the attic rooms feeling the dryness of everything and it was so hot I pried open a window. A west wind filled the dusty, frayed lace curtains and the delicate crocheted birds began to flutter and fly...  I drew a very quick sketch and had to wait for weeks for another west wind for more studies.

Despite the circumstances described by the artist, when looking at this painting a viewer experiences a sense of coolness, a lively breath of oxygenated air infusing refreshment into the stale room. Curtains hanging limp with dust for decades suddenly billow in animation. Patterns long undiscerned emerge to dance and delight the eye. The effect is one of quiet restoration, a peaceful lifting of the heart.
Andrew Wyeth does not make religious claims regarding his art. Much of his work conveys brooding meditations on mortality, an existential angst familiar to most artists of the twentieth century. Nonetheless, we can find that “all things are His servants” and that we can profit devotionally from paying attention to this profound painting.
Look for those items in the picture that reflect the “hand of man”: the fabric, walls, window frame, as well as the tracks left in the grass, all demonstrating the fate of human endeavor, an “absence” in the midst of merely human action. Look, then, for those things that reflect the “Hand of God”: trees, sky, grass, water, and (most wonderfully!) wind. These are things which bring life, refreshment, vitality to human endeavor, to human action – they reflect a Presence most powerful in redeeming all things.
Thank you, Andrew Wyeth! Thank You, Lord! God uses the skillful work of Wyeth to encourage us as we tackle tough tasks of home and school. Reflecting on this painting invigorates our energies in participating with the “breath of God” to lead our children in their learning – what a privilege! 
As we present to the Lord the works of our hands, our hearts, our minds, He promises to bring them to fruition for His purposes. We can entrust all things – all human endeavors, all human actions, all of our undertakings – to Him, knowing that His Spirit blows like a wind in and around, over, under and through our homes and school communities as we seek and desire His glory, His praise.


More Wind from the Sea pictures and quotes

President's Message
Scent of Water

Scent of Water

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Not just sitting behind a desk.

Photo: Nancy Hostetler

Fourth and Fifth Graders Explore

From teacher Tess Quinn's weekly report:

We had a fun week exploring South America. Our lettuce, arugula, snow peas, and flowers had sprouted over break. We planted potatoes on Tuesday. Our garden is growing!

This week we practiced our physical and political geography of South America. They are responsible for knowing the 12 countries, surrounding oceans, and major geographical landmarks. To learn physical geography, the students recreated the maps with modeling clay. We continued our work in writing and rhetoric. For this lesson the students wrote their own fable complete with animals with fully developed character traits, a lesson, and a moral at the end to make the lesson clear. 

Students continued working on their multi genre report for this unit. They conducted research on their chosen country and compiled their findings into an outline. We utilized a culture web to help navigate the unique characteristics of each country. Students worked on memorizing Proverbs 3:5-6 by setting it to the tune of happy birthday. 

We continued our in depth study of the rainforest. We learned about the four layers of the rainforest, the forest floor, the understory, the emergent layer, and the canopy. We read Over and Under the Rainforest by Kate Messner, One Small Square: Tropical Rain Forest by Donald Silver, and The Rainforest Grew All Around by Susan Mitchell. While we read these, students kept a running list of each new animal, plant, protist, bacteria, etc. they encountered. Next week, we'll turn our classroom into the rainforest and include all of these organisms! We also continued our class read aloud book, The Secret of the Andes. Students paid attention to how the author is developing each character using detailed character traits. 

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Ready...set...GO! to another day of learning.

Photo: Nancy Hostetler

Boots & Roots

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Musical debut May 18

Weekly report by Janine Buser

Boots & Roots has an exciting opportunity for a musical debut.  We have been invited to participate in the opening song of the SOW Campus production of The Tempest on Thursday, May 18.  We will be joining in the chorus of the song, Rain, which we'll start practicing during Welcoming after Easter break.  If participation is something that your child is interested in and that works for your schedule, we'd love to have you.  As time draws closer, let me know whether your child is available for the 1:30 pm and/or the 7 pm performances on campus so that the music directors know what to expect.  SOW musicals are very child-friendly in both production and performance.  Even if your child is not performing, I encourage your families to come out to see a performance, cheer on our older students, and learn what to expect in the future.

Finally, with the sunshine and warm weather comes the need to guard against sunburn and insect bites.  This is a friendly reminder to apply sunscreen and insect repellant, if desired, before drop-off for Boots & Roots students.  We will continue to spend much of our day in the woods, home to ticks and other insects.  I recommend wearing clothing in a way that hinders insect entrance (pants tucked into socks, shirts tucked into pants, etc) as well as a hat.  Remember to remove clothing once they are home and to check for ticks.

Boots & Roots

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Tess Quinn graduated from James Madison University. She has a passion for building relationships and a desire to see all of God’s creation flourish...

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Janine Buser is a graduate of Georgetown University. After homeschooling for 20 years, she found a new calling in early childhood education...

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Carolyn Balch spent ten years at the Smithsonian Institution, where she wrote science education materials and ran teacher workshops...

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