Walden Moments for March 31

Dear Families,

We’re off and running as we look ahead to April. While we weave art, PE, college counseling, advising, Morning Meeting, and Rob Lewis’ radio show “Wake Up Call” on Prep Radio, we are rekindling multiple features of our community. We are experiencing our own Walden moments together.

“To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.”
Thoreau

Please enjoy a few initial Walden moments from students, parents, faculty, and staff. 

Anyone who knows me knows that quiet is not a word that one would use to describe me! I am pretty sure I have a gift for “space filling.” Yet here I am. Tons of quiet. I have felt deeply that I need to spend this time listening. Listening to the rain, the birds, all the sounds that I have closed out by being busy! Seeing. Seeing the beauty of my world, spring’s blossoms, the mountains, the clouds. For me it is a time I am using to trust the goodness of my creator, quietly. I can linger, not fill the empty places, but embrace the quiet.

Reggie Ursettie, Librarian

My Walden moment: Jamie and I completed our individual workdays, respectfully sharing the house and the Wi-Fi, and I stepped outside to get fresh air. The sky was beautiful! We pulled an old blanket from the cupboard, spread it out on the backyard lawn, laid down on our backs, and admired the clouds as they melded together and drifted apart to create new shapes and ignite our imaginations. Lying there, we marveled at how fortunate we are to have each other, a comfortable home, our own backyard, and such a caring community, including Prep. We are able to work from home; not everyone has that option. In those clouds, we looked for Jamie’s dad who passed away five days earlier. We haven’t spotted him yet, but we’ll keep looking.

Colleen Bissner, Co-Director of Alumni Relations

I was moved to write a simple poem after reading your prompt a few times. Not sure if this fits what you were expecting, but I let my heart move my hand!  Here you go: 

Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Together
Something we had missed
Together
Time returns to bless us
Laughs fill the four walls
Learning each moment
Breathing every breath
Loving this time
Together

Chris Waldheim ’85, parent of Ryan Waldheim 20

I've been spending a lot more time in my room. See, I don't do my homework in my roomI use the communal study room insteadso my room is exclusively for rest. Recently, though, I've moved my violin practice space into my room and as a result, I take my remote violin classes in my room, too. I end up lingering there, digging through shoe boxes I didn't have the time to notice before, and rediscover who I was as a child. I find thank you cards from my teachers, worn out stuffed animals, glasses that no longer fit me, a mint tin full of tiny hair clips, folded up pieces of carefully torn wrapping paper, inkless stamps of cartoon animals, and a smooth rock that had a name once, in a time capsule of my most precious possessions. As I gently examine each object, respecting the importance they held for a little girl I forgot, I suddenly feel like crying. Every day is so fast and so stressful that I forget to love the things that I do, and to do the things that I love, but looking back at a girl who so clearly loved the life that she lived, I start to love again. 

Mei-Tung Chen ’21 

Starry Night

The light flickers on
A yellow glow on our lawn
The stars multiply
They endlessly shine in the sky
The campfire glows
Lighting the shows
I dance to a silent beat
My parents laughing, clutching their seat
The soft murmur of the iPad
The dog stepping on my feet, looks up as if she says, “My bad!”
As we silence listening for any other sound
But not even from the underground
There’s no partying teenagers next door
No cars on the highway honking even more
Time freezes on that moment
I thank my God for this bestowment
I take a picture of this delight
Before we tuck into bed, goodnight
My dad has his hands over the fire
As if calming the fire from going haywire
My mom smiles at our joke
With a stick at the fire she pokes
The roasted dried fish lay in the corner
But as we reach for it, no longer a loner
Our family has each other
Like father, daughter, and mother
Time unfreezes
But our laughter can’t be taken away by breezes
It’s strong and loud
It makes a definite sound
Crisis is fearful
But with family, always be cheerful 

Ellie Sohn ’25  

I wanted to share one of the most touching moments that happened on Friday at 6:30 p.m. for Alex’s birthday. I had reached out to the Prep parents of the boys with whom Alex is close and who were supposed to celebrate his birthday on April 4th due to his birthday falling over spring break. I had asked for the parents to drive by as a surprise to Alex for his birthday. The boys and their parents, who have been sheltering in place for two weeks, quickly agreed to this surprise. I told Alex that we needed to go to the mailbox to see if he had any birthday cards. Instead, he was greeted with his friends. While I believed they would stay in their cars, they got out and distanced themselves to sing him happy birthday and left cards and gifts. We feel very blessed to be a Prep family and that Alex has forged such wonderful friendships. These boys and their parents epitomize the kindness of which you have spoken that Prep represents. 

Christine Tarr,  parent of Alex Chorba 24

I sit at the front porch, drowning in the colors of spring. I gaze up the blue and mull over the words from my old classmates. “Be careful, don’t go out.” “Do you need masks? I can mail you some.” “I heard some anti-China sentiment is enveloping the cities, are you safe?”… My dear friends, we haven’t seen each other in years, yet I still remember your scintillating eyes, your dimpled smiles, your clumsiness, your humor and quips. When the wind blows away the film of dust, all the memories buried underneath are returned as effervescent as the frisky fish we used to catch. A lavender wisteria petal ruffles into my lap. I pick it up and taste it. To my delight, the sweetness is just like the white Sophora flowers of my childhood—we used to laze and frolic under that Sophora tree, its gigantic crown umbrellaed all us in. I could feel waves of warmth and harmony wash over my heart. After all, everything is connected. We are all connected. 

Mo Rolfeparent of Sasha Rolfe 22

The Hospital on the Hill

A good friend and I used to run to the same park every day over winter break, chatting as we tried desperately to get exercise during the holiday slump. We would occasionally wander, as boredom will make one do, and one day we found an abandoned hospital at the top of the hill we ran on. It was so spooky, so new, so isolated from the world. We felt giddy with the excitement and novelty of the place, taking pictures to share with friends later alongside stories of the mysteries of this time capsule from the past. 

The site is quite near my house, and I returned there yesterday, alone of course. It was a tougher run than I remembered it being, and I arrived out of breath, panting at the steps that were covered with overgrown ivy and weeds. As I looked up at the cracked windows and chipping paint, I found a much different emotion than I expected. I wanted to recapture the spontaneity of that day in December, the rush of the unknown. What I found was peace. The nobility of the silence, the reconnection with nature. The site had stopped moving long before the quarantine and had grown accustomed to the standstill. I’d say we understand each other a little better now. 

Ben Baraga ’20 

Please feel free to share your own Walden moments at pbachmann@flintridgeprep.org.

Enjoy the week. 

Best,

Peter Bachmann
Headmaster

Previous Communications

Additional Resources

  • The CDC and WHO have dedicated pages to the virus and both have proven to be very useful.  
  • The WHO also put out a mythbusters page about the virus that tackles common myths and misperceptions.
  • How Prep is Helping

Each student will receive 60 minutes of access in each of their five academic classes over each day of the two-day block period.

Flintridge Preparatory School
4543 Crown Avenue La Cañada Flintridge CA 91011
Tel: 818-790-1178
Fax: 818-952-6247
Located near Pasadena and Los Angeles in La Cañada, CA, Flintridge Prep is a private independent, coed day school for grades 7-12.
  • NAIS
  • FAST
  • CSEE
  • Independent Curriculum Group
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