The Garden in Autumn

This Friday evening, LCE welcomes classical guitar master and recording artist Adam Levin for an evening exploring Bach. Adam will be Zooming in from his home to discuss and play a bit of the perfection of Bach’s compositions for lute. We are most fortunate to be able to welcome this young virtuoso back to LCE. For the winter term we are talking about having Adam present on the English composer John Dowland whose compositions for the lute are wonderfully poetic, pastoral, and transcendental on guitar.

On Sunday afternoon (4pm on Zoom) LCE welcomes mythologist, author, and storyteller Dr. Martin Shaw and musician David Whetstone for a Myth & Music watch party. Martin and David were scheduled to perform for our program in Lexington last spring. With COVID canceling Martin’s trip from England and David’s travel from MN, they created an hour long “video postcard” for us. We have guests Zooming in from all over the country to view the presentation, and afterward David (and perhaps Martin) will join us on Zoom “live” to say hello. Welcoming David Whetstone and Martin Shaw brings me back to the good fortune of hosting the poet Robert Bly (twice in Lexington) over the years. It’s through Robert that I met David. It’s through Robert that I know about Martin Shaw. In fact, Robert Bly has had some influence in every community education catalog I have worked on since first hosting him in a town nearby in 2003. I intentionally make sure there is at least one stitch of his influence in every adult semester catalog. So this weekend, I look forward to tasting again some of the magic that Bly always brought to us with his readings. While Robert has now retired from readings and touring, Martin Shaw and David Whetstone carry the torch that Robert kept so well, and that he took up from Joseph Campbell, William Butler Yeats, Carl Jung, Marie Louise Von Franz, William Blake, Rumi, Mirabai, Kabir, among others on down the line. The event Sunday is free of charge, but donations are always welcome. I hope you will come and spend an hour of magical music, poetry, story, myth and encouragement with us!

Additionally, we are adding new offerings as we go to our website. While we will be mailing a winter catalog, you can have a first glance and chance to register for classes and events fresh out of the LCE creative kitchen by viewing recently added events and classes here.

There’s a poem that Robert (or perhaps Robert’s friend Coleman Barks who visited LCE some years back) brought into English from the poet Rumi that reads:

Come to the garden in spring.

There is wine and sweethearts

in the pomegranate blossoms.

If you do not come, these do not matter.

If you do come, these do not matter.

It’s autumn now, and not spring…but the last few lines are true for us no matter the season. As a self-supporting program of the Lexington Public Schools, LCE is here for you and because of you, and if you do not come these do not matter.

Craig Hall, Director of Lexington Community Education


P.S. This week I attended a funeral mass for my father’s cousin, Jean. At the cemetery in Woburn, her son told a story of a time in the 1970s when he was about 12 and first realized his family wasn’t wealthy. He came into the kitchen to see his mother, head in hands, looking at a stack of bills on the dining room table. His mom pulled a $20 bill from her pocket and said, “This is it. This is all we have.” The worried son started to think about how to help spread $20 across all those bills on the table. He asked, “What are we going to do? How can I help?” Jean (a mom raising four kids on her own) said, “Gather up your sisters and brothers and get them into the car.” They piled into the car and drove to an ice cream shop in Lexington center. All the kids had ice cream sundaes from that $20, and Jean’s son realized that although life is often hard and scary, there is still a lot of sweetness to be had. He also realized that his mother was his courageous hero.

There is a saying about the best time to plant a tree. Everyone’s heard it. “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.”  That’s true. And then we also have my dad’s cousin Jean driving a car full of kids from Woburn to the ice cream shop in Lexington with $20 to her name…as well as the poet Robert Bly in his refrain to the poem Listening to Shahram Nazeri who reminds us that, “It’s already too late.” In many helpful ways that is true, too. The garden in autumn looks different than the garden in spring, but from a certain perspective they are equally beautiful.

I hope to see you on Zoom!

Craig Hall, Director

Jean dancing with my grandfather at the wedding of my parents in 1969.


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