books, college, Latin, Musing, Thoughts

Winnie Ille Pu (!)

Mo, check out what I found in the library!

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Winnie Ille Pu! It took me about a half an hour to translate it, but I think the above sentence roughly says: “The very famous book known by almost all boys and girls now for the first time having been translated from english speech into Latin by the author Alexander Leanord.”

I am just so terribly fond of that little Roman Pooh.

Anyways, just thought I’d write a third consecutive post to shame you into posting. Hope alls well.

Love, Drew

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books

An Elegant Hedgehog on Tea

Dear Drew,

Just finished Muriel Barbery’s The Elegance of the Hedgehog an hour ago and just had to share a passage of this wonderful, wonderful book.  There are many other sentences, moments, and passages in this book I really love, and I chose this one because, well, Madame Renée Michel is talking about tea–amongst other things.

Kakuzo Okakura, the author of the Book of Tea, laments the rebellion of the Mongolian tribes in the thirteenth century not because it brought death and desolation but because it destroyed one of the creations of the Song dynasty, the most precious amount them, the art of tea.  Like Okakura, I know that tea is no minor beverage.  When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things.  Where is beauty to be found?  In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?

The tea ritual: such a precise repetition of the same gestures and the same tastes; accession to simple, authentic and refined sensations, a license given to all, at little cost, to become aristocrats of tastes, because tea is the beverage of the wealthy and of the poor; the tea ritual, therefore, has the extraordinary virtue of introducing into the absurdity of our lives an aperture of serene harmony.  Yes, the world may aspire to vacuousness, lost souls mourn beauty, insignificance surrounds us.  Then let us drink a cup of tea.  Silence descends, one hears the wind outside, autumn leaves rustle and take flight, the cat sleeps in a warm pool of light.  And, with each swallow, time is sublimed.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog, pg. 91

This is one I’ll definitely be taking for my bookshelf in a few weeks.

Love,

Mo

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books, Maine

Reading aloud Roald Dahl

I recently became a “cabin mom” for one of the cabins at the boys’ summer camp here, which basically just means that I read to the cabin at night, before they go to sleep. They are eleven and twelve-year-olds, and so I chose James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl.

I forget how, when children’s literature is really good, it is not just for children. Reading at night in the dark cabin by a flashlight, the boys lying in their beds, I am equally captivated by James and his adventures. One passage, in particular, stuck out to me–

“He looked around him, wondering what on earth it was going to be. The garden lay soft and silver in the moonlight. The grass was wet with dew and a million dewdrops were sparkling and twinkling like diamonds around his feet. And now suddenly, the whole place, the whole garden, seemed to be alive with magic.

Almost without knowing what he was doing, as though drawn by some powerful magnet, James Henry Trotter started walking slowly toward the giant peach. He climbed over the fence that surrounded it, and stood directly beneath it, staring up at its great bulging sides. He put out a hand and touched it gentle with the tip of one finger. It felt soft and warm and slightly furry, like the skin of a baby mouse. He moved a step closer and rubbed his cheek lightly against the soft skin. And then suddenly, while he was doing this, he happened to notice that right beside him and below him, close to the ground, there was a hole in the side of the peach.” (24)

The story itself is crazy–a giant peach?! Life-sized insects!? But how astonishingly creative, and how real, and how AWESOME it also is. I am not sure I ever read the book as a kid (likely it was read to me and I simply don’t remember) but reading it aloud has been a real joy. And it reminds me, too, of how boundless my imagination used to be–and I think still has the capability of being, if I let it.

–Drew

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