Looking Back with Thanks – Children’s Day

by Robin Willett

Joyful snow lions dancing

The story of brave Iliana arose anew in the Seattle shrine room on an earlier than usual Children’s Day in December. Many came to welcome the winter season and to celebrate our children in the warmth of community. Together we enjoyed good food and conversation, lively and soulful music played all evening by Faith Purvis, Brad Warren and Ryan Harms, and the precious Shambhala teachings imparted by the Tiger, Snow Lion, Garuda, and Dragon dignities as told in a dramatic adaption of Iliana, a Winter Solstice Tale, by Walter Fordham.

Each actor gave an inspired performance. The engaging tiger playfully urged Iliano to learn the secret of the Tiger’s gait; the snow lion jauntily led three snow lion friends and looked on bemused as they danced an impromptu jig; the garuda spoke loud and clear while she and her young garuda friend improvised to everyone’s delight when the props went missing; and the dragon, she haunted us with her song embodying the inscrutable dignity so well.

Iliano, played by Aarush Uli, creatively adapted to unexpected occurrences with warmth and grace, and brought home the message that we’ve had what we need all along, the sun of basic goodness.The King and Queen held the room throughout, offering a few minutes of silence to experience our good hearts, greeting each child at the end with a gift and a wish for their well being. Thanks to all for creating this day, and a very grateful bow to the narrator, musicians, actors, and all volunteers!

Thanks also to Shelley Pierce and Kathryn Larsson for inviting the children into this very moment through the expression of flowers in winter, to Ann Loke for the striking new backdrop, reminiscent of Van Gogh’s Starry Night that shown brightly with the sun just rising against a predawn blue starry sky, to Chris Roberts for the abundant greenery cascading from the Children’s Shrine that filled the shrine room with the scent of fresh balsam, and to Mary Bolton’s enlivened and well timed narration that kept the play on course and was further enriched by her bon mots along the way.

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