Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters

When I was young, there was a proverb that went “Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days.” That was a line from the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes (11:1) in the Revised Standard Version.

I didn’t know that. I just knew that when adults said it, it didn’t make any sense. If you find your bread on the waters after many days, it will be incredibly soggy.

The writer of the ancient proverb was probably voicing a theological opinion that if you do something good, God later does something good for you. And if you do something bad…

Even as a child I didn’t buy that theology. That’s not how my parents talked about God. Now I’m not so sure the soggy bread platitude doesn’t have some truth in it, without adding on the God-keeping-score philosophy.

One of the good things I have done in my life is to be a part of the Montana Logging and Ballet Company, despite my lack of musical ability. (My sisters got most of that in our family.)

Steve Garnaas-Holmes wrote most of our songs for our CDs, and all of the songs we did on stage. His song that the other three of us love most is “Oh Be Gentle.”

Twenty-five years ago, a good friend, Phyllis Lerner, asked me if her friend, Anne Green Gilbert, could use that song for the Creative Dance Center and Kaleidoscope Dance Company which Anne founded in Seattle. I in turn asked the other three guys, who all said approximately, “Somebody wants our song? Of course.”

Recently I heard from Phyllis again. Apparently Anne has been using our song for the last 25 years for her dancers. Anne sent a video of the latest version of the song performed by dancers of all ages for One Billion Rising. This is a movement to stop violence against women and girls. We were astounded.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes wrote back to Anne, “I don’t know why I never thought of dancing with it when I wrote Oh Be Gentle. I should have. I just watched your video of the One Billion rising group dancing with it… I got a little teary. What a beautiful thing. I can’t think of a better life for that song to have than this…”

Anne has given her permission to share this video, along with permission from the current director of the Kaleidoscope Dance Company, Anna Mansbridge. All the dancers have signed permission slips.

Here is some amazing soggy bread, back after 25 years:

“Oh Be Gentle” lyrics and music by Steve Garnaas-Holmes
Performed by the Montana Logging and Ballet Company
Choreography by Anne Green Gilbert
used by permission from Anne Green Gilbert

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Rusty Harper is outrageously happy because he is retired and living with the love of his life, Pat Callbeck Harper in Helena, Montana. So why does he inflict these ramblings on the rest of us, you ask? Because you deserve it. If you aren't smart enough not to read this stuff, then you have to suffer through it. Maybe that builds character, though I doubt it. Think of all the positive things you could do with the time you are wasting on things that occur to me in the night and then sound strange even to me when I write them down in the morning. Bake a cake. Complain to your Senator. Run for Congress. Do something.
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