Each spring the
neo-tropical songbirds of South and Central America prepare
to fly north. Timing their departure to the weather patterns,
they cross the Gulf of Mexico in a single night flight. They
navigate across 500 miles of trackless ocean by memory and
by the stars. Then its on to their summer nesting grounds
across North America. In the fall, they must return.
For thousands of years, these songbirds
could count on the forests waiting for them at journey's end.
But now everything is changing... the forests, the land, the
waters and sky. Even the weather patterns. If the changes
continue, where will these birds go?
Once we were so many, in millions uncounted
Our wings filled the Sky as we followed the year
Unmindful of borders we circled the seasons
Who thought it could change, how could we have known
Where will we go, where will we go
Where will we go before the First Snow
Where will we go, where will we go
Where will we go.... does anyone know?
In spring we fly north to the Land of Our
To raise our own young in the ways we were shown
But each year we are less and the Journey grows harder
As power lines rise and a bitter rain falls... Chorus
At Summers Last Light we start heading
We fly through the night, the stars as our guide
Across the Great Waters the tropics lie waiting
The Jaguar waits too for our songs return... Interlude
Now both North and South the forests are
Burned, cut and criss-crossed by too many roads
The Jaguar and Wolf are so few we dont fear them...
Like us, they fear most the loss of their homes... Chorus
Relationship and Meaning
A song like Where Will We Go makes migration more
than an abstract concept. The imagery here is personal and
real. Together with If
I Had Wings and Silent
Huntress, this song paints pictures of sky and flight
in the listeners mind. It evokes a sense of relationship
with these creatures and their world.
if you could fly by starlight over land and sea. What would
it look like? What would you hope to see? Recently these neo-tropical
birds are coming back in smaller numbers. What do you think
some of the reasons might be? What experiments could we do
to find out?
Musical Guided Imagery This activity does wonders for the
imagination. It is an excellent warm up for creative
writing and art projects. Like many things, it gets even easier
Start by choosing an appropriate piece of
music. You can do this activity with Where Will We Go.
Or choose an instrumental selection that evokes the feeling
of rainforests, birds or migration. The
Hole in the Orange from Steve Schuchs Crossing
the Waters recording works very well for this.
students to listen carefully to the entire piece, with the
lights dimmed and their eyes closed. Sometimes it helps to
push desks aside and have everyone lie on the floor. Explain
this will be a bit like a dream, or the soundtrack to a movie.
Only here the movie will be in their own minds...
and each of them will see different images. They shouldnt
force anything, but just let the music take them where it
When the piece ends, wait a moment, then
ask them to come back from wherever theyve been. At
this point, you might ask what they saw and how it felt. The
key here is to keep going for details. For example, if they
say they saw water or trees, ask what
kind of water, what kind of trees. What time of year was it?
Was it day or night? Warm or cold? What colors or smells did
they notice? Were they seeing the trees from the ground, or
from up in the air? Was this a place theyve been in
real life, or some other place?
If this is a warm up activity
to creative writing, you might have everyone write down key
words for their word hoard based on what they
saw during this activity. Try for a mix of objects
or place words (nouns), action words (verbs), and descriptive
words (adjectives and adverbs). Then play the piece again
in the background as students begin work on a poem or story
that draws on their words and images.
Its amazing how much easier it is
to write a poem or story after doing activities like this
one. This is true for both children and adults. When it comes
to reclaiming some of the imagination weve lost, music
and storytelling are powerful allies.