Life imitates Metaphor: Banana Plant Pushes Through Glass Ceiling at Smith College
A banana plant busted through one of the ceiling panes at the Lyman Conservatory at Smith College over the weekend. Smith College has witnessed many women pushing through glass ceilings over the past 100 plus years. Now, we have actual evidence that a pane of glass can be broken through, literally overnight, in this article featured in today's Hampshire Gazette, Northampton, Massachusetts.
In this bizarre case of life imitating metaphor, Smith College has a most fitting symbol (living mascot?) of breaking through those clear barriers. A banana plant at Smith has many commonalities with Julia Child, Gloria Steinem, Otelia Cromwell (Otelia Cromwell Day at Smith is today!) and many other Smith College graduates. And, in so many cases, the women broke through the ceilings almost overnight...but it did take over 100 years of growth to get to the point where the pane could be shattered. The push came in the middle of the night with no witnesses. And yet, the push came. . .
And, in an odd presaging, Marshall Schalk, professor emeritus of geology at Smith College, and I had a conversation standing near the very same banana plant in 1978 (it has been at the conservatory since at least 1904). He told me that banana plants were remarkably strong and forceful and that he would not be surprised if, one day, the plant pushed through the glass ceiling! "Just like a Smith!" he said (He called us Smiths, not Smithies).
So, today, Marshall, life imitates metaphor. This photograph is for YOU!
As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments on glass ceilings, Smith College or...,
Word Woman (aka Scientific Smithie Steph)