Janet Lynch '79: Learning Never Stops

Janet Lynch ’79
It's true. Learning never stops, fortunately. Foxcroft gave me a great foundation for a life of learning, as did my parents, who set a wonderful example in that regard. My father took up scuba diving and underwater photography in his fifties and continued to read about public policy, natural history, and literature throughout his life, after a career in electrical engineering. My mother loved nature and was very active in helping animals and learning about their natural history all her life. She was also genuinely interested in learning as much as she could about the lives of everyone she met and engaged with, and often reached out to help in many situations. These are just a few ways my parents continued to learn all their lives. Following their example, I try as much as I can to help other humans and animals, and do my best to keep up with the New York Review of Books, as my father and I used to love to discuss the thought-provoking ideas in those pages.
For me, music and the arts, as well as nature, are a constant source of joy and study. In particular, I could play and study music for hours on end and always find more to learn and enjoy. Because I love it so much, it does not feel like work but rather like a rewarding puzzle, and sometimes even sublime. So, after many years of playing the violin and fiddle (which I still play and love), I have recently taken up cello and am taking weekly cello lessons via Zoom. I'm also working on harp, with which I struggle, and am working on several songs which I hope to record and then put up on YouTube as (hopefully) amusing puppet theater pieces. I hope to make that a reality soon!

In other creative projects, I was supposed to do a one-woman show about camping misadventures for Portland, Maine's annual PortFringe Theater Festival in June, but due to current conditions, that has been postponed until next year. Previously, I wrote, directed, and acted in a couple of shows for the festival, including a semi-modern English version of Chaucer's "The Miller's Tale" from his Canterbury Tales in 2014. I also worked up a solo spoken word version, which was a ton of lines to learn! At least they rhymed, which helped a lot.

So as you can see, I am long on ideas but lately have many more creative projects than I have as yet managed to bring to fruition. All of them require learning - from working out how to successfully translate Middle English into intelligible modern English while maintaining the rhyme scheme, to learning and practicing musical notation so I do not forget the melodies I have imagined, to what paints are best to achieve a "beautiful pea green" color for the owl and the pussycat's boat, to learning exactly which cello fingerings are best to convey the beauty of the music written for the instrument. And, after years of trying (with limited success) to learn music theory, I am doing my best to finally learn and play basic harmonic progressions with the help of both cello and harp. And all of that is not even counting everything I continue to learn about the trees in the surrounding forests around here, the land I live on and the many varied organisms I share it with. Really, to be mentally alive is to continue learning. Truly.

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An all-girls boarding and day school in Northern Virginia, Foxcroft prepares young women in grades 9-12 for success in college and in life. Our outstanding academic program offers challenging courses, including Advanced Placement classes and an innovative STEM program. Our premiere equestrian program is nationally recognized, and our athletic teams have won conference and state championships. Experience the best in girls' boarding schools: visit Foxcroft.