One of my favorite things about winter is that I get the opportunity (between rounds with my Snow Wolf) to dig into the large stack of books I have been putting aside. I love to read. I have always loved to read. My mother would take us to our little local library every week, where we each could pick out a book of our own, and my mother would pick out one to read to all of us. I can remember very clearly the children's section of that library. I remember how it smelled. I would stand and look at all those shelves of books and get giddy. BH (Before Homestead), I read an average of a book a week. Now, I am lucky if I can keep up with the few periodicals I get. But winter. Winter forces me inside and, since I can avoid dusting with the best of them, I am given the gift of time.
My favorite book of all time is Alice in Wonderland. I can quote the Jabberwocky verbatim. Not that I have had much occasion to pull it out. But I could, if the occasion arose. I have read that book, cover to cover, at least 20 times. The volume we had at home had wonderful pen and ink illustrations. As I read, I could just see everything playing out in my mind. I wanted to go through that looking glass, down that rabbit hole. Of course, there were a few times in my wayward youth where I probably did do those things. Sort of, in a way. But that's a whole nuther can of wax, to mix metaphors.
I had a very vivid imagination as a child. I still do, but it lacks that brilliance of innocence. When we were children, our family would spend two weeks every summer on a small lake in northern Ontario. My mother came from a long line of hearty, headstrong pioneering people. They used to throw a picnic and the babies in an old crank car and head off to the unknown at the drop of a hat. My great-great grandfather bought a piece of property on this lake and, in the winter, they would snowshoe across the ice to where they had cut logs and pull them over to the homesite. They built a log cabin, chinked it and put in a woodstove. There was no plumbing (we used the "Mansion" up a path in the woods) and no electricity. It was absolute heaven. Many hours were spent along the shoreline playing house, pretending we were wood fairies. Watching the loons and making up scary stories about Ghost Island.
I feel pretty wistful for the kids today. If they were plunked on our shoreline with nothing more than what was at hand, would they be able to come up with the fantastic adventures that we conjured out of nothing but our over-active imaginations? Doubtful. They would be looking for the nearest electrical outlet. I assume that I will fixate on that period when I am in my dotage and repeat the sames stories to whatever unfortunate audience I have held captive. It is a very pleasant place to revisit.