Jane's Pocket Change: Writing, Reading, Spring Break and Saving Lives
In her beautiful collection of essays, Upstream, Mary Oliver has crafted an exquisite piece entitled, "Staying Alive." It's about foxes, writing and reading and, yes, staying alive. She writes: “You must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life.”
The foxes are mostly free and they are whimsical, enjoying play as well as going about the business of their lives. We learn about the young Mary Oliver who builds bookshelves for her books and finds ways to escape into the woods where, one day, she walks on all fours to see what it's like. She describes a complex relationship with her “absent” father and her journey of survival through nature, writing and books.
For me, this young Mary Oliver makes me think of the young Jane Eyre in Charlotte Brontë's novel. Jane’s introspection and self-reliance mirrors that of Mary. Perhaps Upstream may now sit as reverently on my bookshelf as my two overly-handled copies of Jane Eyre, my all-time favorite book, which I discovered when I was very young and still beginning to find out how the characters in the books I read became my companions in life.
Here's to a bit of reading and reflecting time for our students and adults alike as we head into spring break. I have already dedicated some time for my own personal reading during these next two weeks and am looking forward to The Sellout, The Sympathizer and Orphan Train.
The Cambridge School of Weston is a day and boarding independent school, located near Boston, for students in grades 9-12 and PG. We offer an innovative and rigorous academic program that fosters critical thought, hands-on experiential learning and deep academic inquiry. Students choose from more than 300 courses through our unique Mod System; no two student schedules are alike.