Sunday, November 20, 2016

Making the connection...Ella Young & Mary Oliver

Image by Denise Sallee. © Denise Sallee 2016
I am slowly, lovingly, breathing in Mary Oliver's book of essays Upstream. Though published 73 years later, Oliver's excerpt below echoes Ella Young's own words published in The Oakland Tribune, Sept, 22, 1931 and reprinted in the anthology  At the Gates of Dawn: A Collection of Writings by Ella Young.

Time does not alter the fundamental and the elemental truths of this world.  Though we allow ourselves to be easily caught up in the ephemeral nothingness of politics - the flag waving, the flag burning - words such as Oliver's and Young's are like finding an oasis filled with a calm and sober light directing us back to the purity of truth and away from that "false world."

First let us hear from Mary Oliver:

Teach the children. We don't matter so much, but the children do. Show them daisies and the pale hepatica. Teach them the taste of sassafras and wintergreen. The lives of the blue sailors, mallow, sunbursts, the moccasin-flowers. And the frisky ones—inkberry, lamb's quarters, blueberries. And the aromatic ones—rosemary, oregano. Give them peppermint to put in their pockets as they go to school. Give them the fields and the woods and the possibility of the world salvaged from the lords of profit. Stand them in the stream, head them upstream, rejoice as they learn to love this green space they live in, its sticks and leaves and then the silent, beautiful blossoms.

And, now, from Ella Young: 

    It’s fairy lore that makes the world beautiful…there are fairies all about us, if we’ll only look for them. How sad it is that a materialistic world laughs at them and their beauty…
“If you want to develop imagination in a child, to fan the creative spark which may make him great, you can’t restrict his thought. The fairy kingdom is a vast realm of magic where most anything can happen. It’s a far more interesting place for a youngster than to take him riding in a street car…Fairies, also, are not for all children, but to those who love them let them have them.”
"...The modern child…lives in a false world surrounded by mechanical toys and artificial amusements. There is no time to let the child sit and think; to turn out to nature, where the mountains, the birds and the flowers may talk to him - and they do talk - and to let him feel the beauty of things about him. And, then, how will a child know the greatest lessons of antiquity if his elders frown upon the rich folklore which affords him an inheritance of imagination and romance?

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