My eyes slowly opened, the faintest bit of sunlight seeking its way through the window. I glanced quickly at the clock, 4:30 AM, it read. I took a few steps outside to the small balcony which hung just outside of our hotel room. The sun showed its very first lights of day, lying just above the horizon. The palm tree silhouettes danced gracefully with the wind. A light purple aura surrounded the rising sun on the horizon and reflected onto the water. I took a deep inhalation of the fresh, and what seemed like untouched air. I felt the warmth of the newly arisen sun touch my skin ever so serenely. I closed my eyes and let the Bahamian paradise engulf me. With one last look at the incredible scene, I wandered back to my bed and peacefully drifted off into slumber.
The immense mountain towers over me
Its great power is intimidating
You are but a human.
The leaves slowly drift to the ground
while the sun shoots orange rays of light through the trees
the ground looks like it is lit on fire
with roaring red and yellow leaves.
In the winter morning mist
A deer sprints silently
Into the unknown
The raven stands perched on the mountaintop
Gazing watchfully over the lowlands
Silently the dog sleeps
Comfortable and warm
“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”
Often times, money causes more suffering and pain than it does happiness. The story, "The Gift of The Magi", is a great example of this. "The Gift of The Magi", written by O. Henry, is a powerful short story about a poverty-stricken couple during christmas time who feel incredibly obligated to buy each other gifts, as anyone would. However, since these two a very poor, they must sacrifice something more precious than money in order to purchase the presents. In this piece, the author shows it's not material things such as gifts that make us happy, but simply human connection and love. O. Henry exhibits how it is most important to savor and enjoy our time with people rather than stress unnecessarily over thing that only bring us temporary excitement, if that. It is Christmas time in the city, and Della, and her husband Jim, both feel obligated to purchase Christmas presents for each other. However, due to financial struggles, they quite simply don'y have the money to buy these presents. But, they were absolutely determined to get the presents, even though the must make sacrifices in order to. Much suffering and pain was endured in the process. In the end, they came to the realization that it is not the presents that bring joy and happiness, but each other. I found this short story to be throughly enjoyable. There was not any one point where I felt bored. The author did a good job of keeping the story lively. I found the climax to be especially exciting, even more so than other short stories, which tend to be very climactic. The tension the author managed to build up was intense. Overall, I thought that this was a very well written story, with lots of action and emotion.
“The history of modern art is also the history of the progressive loss of art's audience. Art has increasingly become the concern of the artist and the bafflement of the public.”
- Paul Gauguin
It seems like everyday that I hear someone say "There is no good music being made nowadays" or "All the music now is horrible". For someone to say that, they must be terribly misinformed. One could argue that the music on the radio isn't as good as it was a few decades ago, however this era is home to some of the most progressive and dexterously created music of the past century.
A vast majority of people who say music nowadays is bad, are making that judgement based on whatever is playing on the radio. However, there is much more than the top 50 on iTunes. To be able to make a fair assessment of modern music, one must dig deep and make an effort to find the smaller, less popular musicians and bands that are truly talented, innovative, creative, and are beating a path for the music of tomorrow. I strongly believe that the best music of today is hidden under the blinding lights of the mainstream. Now, I'm not trying to say that all mainstream music is bad, because it is not. Some of my favorite music is popular, however I truly believe that to find the best of todays music, one must explore.
An example of a contemporary rendition of an old song:
"One of the most beautiful qualities of friendship is to understand and to be understood"
- Lucius Annaeus Seneca
It was not until the Camp Caribou trip that I realized how much I was going to miss our grade. I didn't realize how close I had become with all of my piers, and how there will never be another class like this one ever again. It struck me suddenly, and I realized that I must savor every moment of my ninth grade year, I can't let it slip away.
People always say that you become extremely close with classmates you would never have in the 9th grade. I always disregarded this, and thought that I would stay friends with the same people without expanding friendships. To my surprise, at Caribou I almost immediately started talking and hanging out with other people that I never had previously. Throughout the trip, I continued reaching out to my other classmates, and I realized how how much I both do and don't know about them. The trip made me realize how special the relationships, connections, and bonds that our class has formed over the years truly are.
For the remainder of our final year at Fenn, we must all strive to make the most of and expand our relationships between our classmates. Next year, we will all be separated into different schools.
Enjoy it while it lasts.
Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather than risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins.
- Charles Stanley
There I stood. Staggering over a cliff, with sheer drops of over 1,000 feet on either side of me. I was completely vulnerable to nature's will. The only security I had was a pile of loose rocks that could easily slip out of my grasp and send me down free falling to my fate. The slightest gust of wind or rain could quite literally mean the difference between life or death.
This past July, I was given the opportunity to attend the seven day long overnight hiking trip to Mt. Kathadin. The trip was to be comprised of eight people, two counselors and six campers. It was an honor to be selected for this trip, considering there were dozens of people who very much wanted to go as well. The trip required about two weeks of preparation. We had to pack our food supply for the entire week, and we had to cook breakfast and dinner, and for lunch we would snack on trail food we had prepared. We had to properly ration the trail snacks in order to last the entire week, or else we would go hungry. We decided that a trail mix like blend of oats and fruit would be a good choice, considering that it would be nourishing and energizing. However we could not simply pack fruit as it were, or else it would eventually rot and become moldy. So, we came up with the solution of dehydrating the fruit, which would making both resting to rot and a whole lot lighter. Luckily enough, our camp had a fruit dehydrator which we used. It was a lengthy process, but a useful one none the less. In addition we had to make menus for the trip, and we couldn't use meat in fear of bears raiding our supply in the night. And so we lived off of an entirely vegetarian diet for a week; all of which we cooked with incredibly limited resources consisting a an incredibly unpredictable more-less makeshift propane stove called a whisper light, which broke down several times throughout the trip, and which one night resulted in us not eating at all. Our day usually went something like this: we wake up at around 6:30, cooked breakfast, hiked about 10 miles, arrived at our campsite, and cook dinner and then finally go to sleep.
One of my most memorable expiriences on this trip was hiking the knife edge. Just after the actual summit of Mt. Kathadin itself, is a one and a half mile long trail that is infamous for its fear provoking and threat of danger. It's called the knife edge for a reason. It does resemble a giant knife, with a three foot wide path, and incredibly steep cliffs surrounding you with drops of thousands of feet. At one point, you literally had to scale 6 foot natural rock walls. It was utterly nerve wracking. At times, I felt like giving up and turning back, but I persevered and made my way through it. And in the end, it was an incredible growing experience.
Never surrender when in the face of danger.
Music is one of the most powerful forms of self expression in existence. Without music, life would be impossible. Everyone, no matter where you’re from, what you look like, what language you speak, you can enjoy music. It’s the universal language that everyone is able to understand.
As a musician myself, I find music to be empowering. I can convey my emotions through my instrument with ease. You can do this with any kind of music, however, I find that it is most powerful with jazz. Jazz has a life of its own. It might seem excotic when one first listens to it, but once it is truly understood, it can be appreciated entirely. Its an acquired taste. Think of it as a foreign delicacy thats seems utterly disgusting at first glance, but once it’s given a try, it’s obvious why people love it. In jazz there’s no droning synthesized bass that one might find in modern pop music. There’s no autotune, no fake electronic sounds that everyone seems to love. What you’re hearing is pure authenticity, soul, talent, and improvisational thought. Jazz music is largely improvisational. The musicians will play a written chorus, and then go into solos; in which every member of the band (usually consisting of 4-6 people) has an opportunity to solo. The musicians must invent music off of the top of their head at a moments notice. Soloing gives the musicians a real opportunity to express how they are feeling at the exact moment. The solos aren’t written out in advance, the music is happening now, in the moment. Jazz captures the essence of the moment that can never be recreated again. That is exactly why jazz takes a life of its own. The music is alive.