One Wish for Air and Liberty – Mansfield Park

A select group of JASNA-NY book group members met for our annual Box Hill picnic at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn on a surprisingly mild and sunny day in August.  At the highest elevation in Brooklyn, the cemetery afforded a vista over two counties, avenues of venerable trees and winding paths in which to get lost with a charming companion.

We felt right at home amidst the interpreters in 18th century garb who were commemorating the anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn.  The ceremony was a poignant reminder of how important our freedom is and how precious our natural environment is. Both require resilience and perseverance against destructive forces that could easily destroy them.  After the formal program concluded, we visited the monuments of some of the cemetery’s most famous residents, including Leonard Bernstein on his birthday, en route to entering the serene Sylvan glade.

What a pleasing prospect for a fête champêtre complete with a tranquil lake and plenty of cooling shade!  Our discussion began with the endlessly debatable Mansfield Park, moved to the importance of names and alliteration in Austen’s work, and then wandered off into interesting tangents as all the best conversations do.  This year’s Box Hill meeting was a lovely and thought-provoking outing.

-Sabina Hollis