“I wish I was a girl,” he thought fiercely, “so’s I could cry and cry!” (from Anne of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery)
Being pliable March 30, 2011
The world is full of happiness, and plenty to go round, if you are only willing to take the kind that comes your way. The whole secret is in being pliable. (from Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster)
Strong sense March 29, 2011
Winnie had her own strong sense of rightness. She knew that she could always say, afterward, “Well, you never told me not to!” But how silly that would be! (from Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt)
The black splotch March 28, 2011
He did not want her to know about the black splotch, and yet he wished she did know. When the worst was over he could stop dreading it. (from Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder)
This story of Almanzo’s guilty conscience regarding the black splotch on his mother’s parlor wall had me groaning in sympathy for him. I know the exact feeling. I remember so vividly when I was in the fifth grade taking my mother’s razor and shaving my legs when she wasn’t home. I carefully washed it and put it back in the exact spot in her shower. When I ran my finger over my newly smooth legs, I felt so grown up, but so incredibly guilty I didn’t dare wear shorts or skirts. Then when the hair started to grow back, darker and coarser, I just knew she would notice. Finally, one day I couldn’t stand it any more and I blurted out my confession through many sobs and begged for forgiveness. I remember I was sitting in the back seat of her car as she drove. I have to wonder now if she had to hide a hint of a smile at my dramatic confession of what Ray Bradbury might call “gnat sins sizzling.” I don’t know. But I do know that my mom is the best. The Christmas following the summer of the sneaky shaved legs, I found an electric razor in my stocking.
An Animal with a Plan March 27, 2011
It was, Odd concluded, an animal with a plan. (from Odd and the Frost Giant by Neil Gaiman)
I feel this way about my dog Spur pretty often. She’s smart, and tries really hard to communicate with me. The usual pattern: she walks into the room where I am, sits down, stares intently (soul-searchingly) at me, whines once, and then repeats the whole process until I respond in the desired way. Usually, that means I ask a series of questions trying to determine what she wants. Do you want water? Are you hungry? Do you need to go outside? Do you want to play? Do you want a treat? (Of course, I only ask the questions that I’m willing to facilitate at the time.) She waits for me to ask the right question, and then she responds by barking, stretching, or a full-body shake. But sometimes, none of the questions are right. She’s trying to get me to do something, but I don’t know what it is. It’s clear that she has a plan in mind. I think that most of her plans end with me giving her loads of treats, or maybe giving her treats while also taking her on walks and runs and car rides to exciting locations, where we will play ball until she’s utterly exhausted. And then more treats. But mostly, I think her plans involve quality time with me. That’s a plan I can get behind.
Winter’s Refusal March 26, 2011
Winter hung in there, like an invalid refusing to die. Day after grey day, the ice stayed hard; the world remained unfriendly and cold. (from Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman)
Punxsutawney Phil is a lying son of a groundhog. The first official day of Spring was last week, and despite the vermin’s prediction of an early Spring, it snowed twice this week and it’s been cold. This morning when I took my dog Spur out for a walk, it was 30 degrees with windchill of 19. But the days are longer and the quality of light has changed, so it looks like Spring, and everyday I feel like it should be warmer than it is. Until I get outside and a cold wind slaps me in the face. But the good news is that there’s no more snow piles, no more ice anywhere, so it’s not as bad as it was. Still, I’ve never been so ready for winter to end. For those of you who are already enjoying sunshine, warmth, the color green and blooming things, don’t take it for granted! Take time to revel in the glorious renewal of the natural world. Soak up some sun (with sunscreen on, of course). And send some warm thoughts up North, will you?