I've been watching the Garden Blogger's Book Club with much interest. They are reading this month: The Essential Earthman: Henry Mitchell on Gardening. As the commentaries have started appearing, they have taken my mind back to what I was doing during that era of Mitchell's writing.
We always had a vegetable garden, long as I remember. Back in Detroit, we had an extravagance of land, a double lot on a dead-end street. Such a luxury of space. The garden grew as I did, starting out behind the swing set, and later spreading out to the side lot.
When we moved to Milford, we suddenly had twice the lot space. The new garden was as big as the back yard to our first house had been. Huge. And every winter Dad would tuck it in snug until spring.
This year's garden at Hogglebog.
The first picture on this post from dreams and bones reminded me of all that. It looks so cozy, so perfect, so Beatrix Potter. And so I came back around to books.
Just how do the books you read as a child influence your later life?
Beatrix Potter, Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables. Alice down the rabbit hole and through the looking glass, the Wind in the Willows and Watership Down. Black Beauty and The Black Stallion. Every book by Margaret Henry, from Misty to San Domingo. Narnia and Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.
How much of the sensibility of those books have I carried, imprinted, into my adulthood?
Look at the time frames represented there. Past, present, fantasy. No future. Even the books that might have been set in the future were written in a sort of timeless 'now.' The future was for the child to create, to find and explore in their own time on their own terms.
What are kids reading now? Reading. Right.
The reading revolution spurred by the Harry Potter books was a good start, but how significant is that readership against the rest of their peers, vacantly absorbing what is fed through the TV, or blasting their way through monsters and prostitutes and ill-defined enemies through video games?
What sensibilities will they carry into their adult lives, and how will this serve them?
My five year old niece is learning to read (in kindergarden! so early they are teaching this, it's great!) I think it's time to check and see if she and her little sister have the Potter (Beatrix!) books yet, and to gift them if they have not. Also for my other niece, who's a bit young yet for the reading by herself, but will like them anyway. Just the pictures are a great way to tell oneself stories, at that age.
You've got to feed the soil if you want things to grow. I've got a whole lot of fertile ground to tend.