Head of School’s Notebook — Raindrops


During the Memorial Service for Liam Mundy ’19 on Sunday, one of our seniors suggested that we are all like raindrops running down a window. As we travel, our paths converge with those of other raindrops. Often we join for a spell, and then new branches form. We always take some of the other drop with us when we part, she said, and the other drop takes some of us.

The same image came to mind yesterday as we began our celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a study of George Ellen Lyon’s poem, “Where I’m From.” It begins:

I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
(Black, glistening,
it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush,
the Dutch elm
whose long-gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.

It is a poem about individual distinctness, and our charge was to each write our own. Over three hundred of them are now posted in the Hitchcock Theater Gallery, a testament to the unique mix of people and personalities and backgrounds that compose this community.

I am from my grandpa’s handkerchief
From ice cream cake and mango shakes

I am from Scrabble Boards
From Tollhouse cookies and candlelight

I’m from ranch houses—low, wide, and sprawling.

I am from computers; from mother boards and processors

I am from the seeds of a guava
From the kernels of corn and the sweetness of Limon Cillo

I am from Barbie dolls
With fairy wings and mermaid tails

I am from the company of friends.

I am from the sand

There are verses on the doors of the Chapel, too, but those we wrote in groups and begin not with “I” but “we.”

“We are from … eucalyptus trees, avocados and sunsets,” said one poem. “From fire and rebirth, embers, ash, and fog,” said another, “From friendship and memory.”

Today the students and faculty who penned those lines are off the Mesa, offering support to a host of local agencies and organizations as part of Public Service Day. It has always seemed the best way to honor the legacy of Dr. King: to act, to contribute, to give in some way, to serve.

In such manner we become the raindrops our senior described this past weekend, growing through our journey to earth, and giving something of ourselves along the way.