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4619 N. Ravenswood Ave., Ste 305
Chicago, IL 60640
USA

773.271.1990

We are a multidisciplinary innovation studio working with diverse partners to understand sustainability challenges and identify holistic, resilient solutions, and we are committed to training the next generation of leaders.

Blog

Insights, inspiration and opportunities to create a more vibrant and resilient future.

INSIGHT: Ars Longa, Vita Brevis?

Peter Nicholson

Citizenship Lessons

     O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;
     The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;
*

There aren’t words. Which is strange, because for two years in Mr Y's high school English class there were nothing but words. From his example, I learned the power of language. My relationship to Mr Y transcended graduation through occasional visits, handwritten letters, and conversations over meals. His enthusiasm, attention and generosity never wavered. Any ability I possess to write, express, and now teach, was shaped by him. Achieving greater sustainability requires powerful teachers capable of fostering leaders. Mr Y assaulted us everyday with his unique passion and intelligence, providing more than was expected, certainly more than was deserved. He taught me what it meant to be a citizen, not of a country or place, but of emotion and ideas. His classroom possessed a world inexplicably bigger than the confined community I inhabited. That universe, inflected by language, was struck silent by his death last week. O Captain, My Captain...the tide has unexpectedly rushed out, the air evaporated, all potent sound silenced. I know from you that it will return, more powerful, nurturing, and inspiring than ever before. But for now, I stand on the shore, the magic broken, the folio closed, the actors silenced, mourning the loss.

*From O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman (1865)