I am your quintessential eternal optimist. I believe adventure awaits around every corner. I see silver linings in adversity, change, and upheaval. And I feel the pure joy and beauty in perfect sunny days.
That ideal sunny day occurs every year at Potomac on May Day, which this year took place on one of the last days of April. The Middle School students entertain the entire school with songs and dances and poetry and pageantry. There's a May Day court, as well as accordion players and fiddlers and special guests.
This year the country of Bulgaria was featured, with songs and poetry dedicated to the awakening of spring and spoken in the native language. The children, in a bouquet of colors, danced in patterns reminiscent of those folksy Greek line dances, a white handkerchief in the raised hand of the lead dancers.
But my favorite moment of Potomac's May Day celebration is watching the skilled sixth graders weaving the colorful ribbons as they skip, duck, and circle around the maypole. Watching the weaving patterns emerge is always satisfying.
Last year on May Day it rained. Everything was brought inside, including the picnic lunches, which Middle School students enjoyed in their classrooms. The day was still festive and celebratory. But we spectators were squeezed inside the gym vying for the best perch to view the performances.
Squished as I was against the back wall of the gym, craning my neck to see the spectacle, I was annoyed when the woman beside me started texting on her phone. I turned to give her a quelling glare but my eyes fell on her phone and discovered that the text, unsent, was typed in Cyrillic. It said, "At a lovely celebration of spring at my granddaughter's school."
"Are you Russian?" I asked in Russian.
She whipped her eyes up at me. "Yes!" She kept staring. It's unusual for an American, much less a black woman, to speak her native language. "You know Russian?"
We chatted about my experiences and discovered that not only is her married surname the same as my mother-in-law's maiden name, but they both came from the same southern city in Russia.
"Oh my God," she breathed. "This is a miracle." And it was. She'd moved six thousand miles to give her family the best possible life and discovered the possibility of long lost relatives in the Chester Gym at The Potomac School because her granddaughter and my daughter were performing indoors on May Day.
"A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men," Herman Melville said. "And among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects."
And there is that feeling of miraculous serendipity about this campus. It's a small world made greater for the width and breadth of the student body. We are from everywhere, and yet for a little while, at least, we are all connected and happy to call Potomac home.