'tis the season

how to lose yourself

You know those teachers in life that have an impact?

I had three such teachers in my elementary school; Ms. Breck, Mr. Wallace and Mr. Bolton.

Mr. Bolton's gift was music.

His love of music was palpable.

Each class he would sit behind his piano as he played and taught and played and taught.

He was the first teacher to introduce us to more contemporary music...which was unusual for the time.

Suddenly we found ourselves singing along to Simon and Garfunkel's Feelin' Groovy and Scarborough Fair.

My exposure to such music was so impactful that, years later, I found myself singing Feelin' Groovy to soothe my children to sleep.

It was during the holiday season, however, that Mr. Bolton really shined.

About a week before Christmas, he moved his piano to the large main entrance of the school. There it sat betwixt a grand wooden staircase on one side and an iron and stone staircase on the other.

Students and teachers alike were invited to come early to school to partake in a Christmas song sing-along.

Despite being the elders of the school (grade 7), my peers and I seemed to create an unspoken understanding that our 'status' as the 'elder cool kids' could remain intact provided we didn't seem too enthusiastic about the sing-along.

And so...

as we hustled our frozen bodies into the foyer of the school on a typically dark and cold winter morning, we claimed our spots on the floor or the stairs...holding tight to the song list and lyrics, eager (but not overly eager) to begin.

A song choice was announced...

the piano played

our voices joined in.

Song after song

we kept our 'cool'





a secret smile seeped across our faces.

The music

the moment


the magic of it all

slowly defrosted our 'cool' 

as it 

warmed our hearts and toes.

I think about that time.

I think about what those moments meant.

I think about those secret smiles...

and I smile again.

It is the smile that reveals the truth;

in those moments

we found joy 


we lost our selves.

We became one.

One voice


in song

for the pure joy of it.

And it was glorious.

This holiday season...I wish for you a joy; one that allows you to

lose your self...

transcend your self.

It is the greatest gift of the human spirit.

And it is glorious.

Happy Holidays to all.

Lana Bastianutti