Last week, students were asked to undertake another in a series of epic challenges at The Island School. The Literature Department assigned students to write a story of their Island School experience through the form of the traditional Heroes Journey. Even more difficult, they were made to do it in the very specific stanza and rhyme form in which Derek Walcott's Omeros was written (the primary text for their course). In the truly triumphant tradition of our students here, they persevered and were able to articulate beautifully written poetic expressions of the knowledge that is gained through the journey. Enjoy this example written by James Boyce, describing the epic experience of free-diving with Maxey as his epic guide:
Free diving through Cathedral
The conch horn blows as a calling to free diving.
The sun is just emerging from the blue ocean.
I don’t want to wake up and have trouble finding
the motivation to move. I feel a notion.
The thought that my time here is limited comes to
me and I decide to put my day to motion
I get dressed, get all my gear, and put on my shoes
When I reach the boathouse I see Maxey sitting
there waiting for me. He says we are going to
Cathedral and gives me tips on deeper breathing.
We load into the boat and head to Cathedral.
I hop in the water, excitement starts creeping
into me. Cathedral is named after a hole
that runs through the entire length of the coral.
I want to push myself, so to achieve my goal
I ask Maxey to guide me through this new portal
I take my last breath and dive into a surreal
world of silence in the absence of all oral
communication. I travel deeper. I feel
as if I need to breathe, but I know I can go
further. I reach the entrance to the cave, the keel
of the big boat far above the tips of my toes
I enter the cave and as I am about half
way through I come to realize and I come to know
that if I need to breath I don’t have any shaft
to the surface, but then the amazing wildlife
and structure of the cave brings me back from the daft
thoughts that I was having about losing my life.
I finally exit the cave and start floating
up to the surface again. It feels like a knife
is piercing my lungs and I’m almost breaking
the surface. I rise from the blue ocean like the
sun, with a new appreciation for pushing
myself to do what I want. Maxey says that he
needs to get us back to campus before breakfast.
This journey left me with a new love for the sea.