Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday Musings.

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.


Sue said...

So agreed!!

I'm glad I grew up when I did. I watch the kids walking around now, just staring at their Iphone/Ipad/Itouch/I'manidiot and think how much of life they are missing. SO SO sad.

Carolyn said...

Thanks for your wonderful stories! Although I didn't grow up without indoor plumbing, I DID go camping a lot as a child and had to use the outhouses. I'm hoping my daughter gets to experience "no running water or electricity" kind'a times so she too can tap into the inner child's imagination....even if it's just a weekend at the local campground!

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

You are so correct about kids and outlets. I'm lucky that with encouragement, the kids have experienced hobbies that don't require outlets, and that they all love to read.

Anonymous said...

One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the one's that mother gives you
don't do anything at all
Go ask Alice
When she's ten feet tall


hoosier girl said...

I grew up in a house with a "mansion"-a royal 2 seater at that! Some periodicals were dual purpose LOL! Maybe that's why I read so much, afraid the printed page may disappear forever... Thanks for sharing!

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

Lets not forget how many adults can not fathom going 24 hours without said outlet. I am always surprised how many people around my middle age group do NOT know how to make coffee in a pot on the stove. Sad. All I can say is if we ever have a mass electrical outage as they predict, we will see a real 'thinning of the herd' ;)

Susan said...

Sue - "i'manidiot"! I LOVE it! It sort of crept up on us - how we need to be connected at all times. I liked it better when people couldn't find me!

CR - Camping is so much fun - I bet Rhiannon will love it! As long as she has a pink sleeping bag...;o)

Kristina - Our mother encouraged us to read. And she read to us, making it very special. And it stuck!

Hoosier Girl - Yes, ours was a 2-seater, too. It was pretty spooky if you had to use it in the middle of the night, though. There were porcupines out there!

Jane - Yes - one good mass electrical outage will empty out the shallow end of the gene pool. We can hope.

Leigh said...

Your childhood experiences of that little cabin by the lake remind me of mine. A family friend had a small cottage in Wisconsin, and we would summer there, water pump, outhouse and all. I was a voracious reader as well, and its true that there's no time with homesteading. My reading time is in bed, right before I go to sleep. Unfortunately I can rarely make it through more than a paragraph or two because I'm so pooped at the end of the day! Enjoy your winter reading months.

Mama Pea said...

Your musings/stories are a very pleasant place to visit.

In relation to Jane's comment, once we had an extended period of no electricity (which we didn't know about because we were living without electricity at the time!) and I happened to be in town the day after it was restored. I was in the newspaper office and the woman at the counter was so upset over the unbelievable hardships her household had just endured. She almost wept when she related to me that she'd ruined her electric coffee pot by trying to make coffee with it . . . IN THEIR FIREPLACE! How can one comment on that?

Candy C. said...

It drives me crazy when we go out to eat and see a family sitting together with each of them either on the phone, texting or playing video games and totally ignoring each other! Quality family time at its best! ;-)

Susan said...

SpiderJohn - Ah, lyrics from my youth!

Leigh - I have been trying to read the same book for months! Same here - one paragraph and I'm out.

Mama Pea - OMG.

Candy - And those children are the future leaders of our country. ACK!~

Erin said...

bahahaha I love Sue's comment! I loved the library as a kid, and still do :)