From the Desk of Jay Rainey – April 19, 2024

“Is it just me,” I thought to myself earlier this week, “or is there an awful lot of pollen in the air?” I figured our students would know the answer, so I asked them in a brief survey, and I was pleased to receive 266 replies in short order. That’s a response rate of 22%, which is hardly sufficient to reveal definitive information, but which is at least enough to pique one’s curiosity.

My first question pertained to pollen sensitivity. Of those Rams who participated in the survey, approximately 72% reported being “very” or “somewhat” allergic to April’s tiny but profuse grains and granules.

I also asked about general awareness of pollen this week, and 87% of respondents reported being conscious of it in the air. Most, in fact, described themselves as “very aware.” (How comforting to know I wasn’t alone.)

Finally, I asked about spring, and I was reassured—even a little surprised, given the high incidence of allergies to seasonal pollen—that only 14% of respondents do not like this fecund time of year.

And now, a confession: I had more ambitious plans for this letter! I was going to determine correlations between affection for spring and pollen awareness and sensitivity, both by division and overall. I was also interested to find out whether younger children seem to appreciate spring more or less than older students. Alas, it is a very busy day at MICDS—Grandparents and Special Friends Day in Beasley, Field Day in the Upper School, and, well, Friday in the Middle School. (Who, after all, doesn’t enjoy a happy Middle School Friday?) I would have liked to write you a more perfect letter, but I would do well to remember in this moment—as we would all do well to remember, I think, from time to time (our students especially?)—that perfectionism is a monster. It may be beyond our power to slay, but we can certainly choose not to feed it. Mine, in any case, could stand to lose the weight.

Always reason, always compassion, always courage. My very best wishes to you and your families for a joyful spring weekend ahead.

Jay Rainey
Head of School

This week’s addition to the “Refrains for Rams” playlist is Little Martha by The Allman Brothers Band, the ninth and final track on their 1972 album Eat A Peach. The tune, which the acclaimed musician Leo Kottke has called “the most perfect guitar song ever written,” is a duet performed by Duane Allman, who died tragically just after recording it, and Dickey Betts, whose death yesterday at age 80 recalled its beauty to me (Apple Music / Spotify).