Tuesday, March 3, 2015

It's Time.

Dear Beloved,

I wanted to tell you about this in April, I have been saving it for you, since December.  The time, though, is now.  I know it is time, because I saw today a horse, in a field, and that horse has been standing still since October; just standing.  Here, or there, in the corner, or in the middle of the field, or nearer the juniper, but standing all this while.  Today, he ran like a colt, in wild circles, the way the horses do, and the cattle, and goats and sheep, too, when spring comes.  They run just because the earth is soft and green and the breeze smells of blossoms.  The spring is here when the buds open.  This time, it is now.

This day the spring had decided not to be poetical, but simply cheerful.  It had spread flocks of small scatterbrained clouds in the sky, it swept down the last specks of snow from every roof, it made new little brooks run everywhere and was playing at April the best it could.

This lovely passage is from Tove Jansson's charming children's book Moominland Midwinter.  It is filled with the exploits of the Moomintroll Family, and I hope that you will not be such a fool as to think you would not enjoy a children's book at whatever your advanced and sophisticated age may be.

The author is not only lyrically gifted, she is the totally disarming illustrator of her own books.  Now, some illustrators are good, even great, but some of them, are even artists.  Tove Jansson is an artist.  I first read collections of her wonderful cartoon strips, and I encourage you to check your library for those, too.  Tove Jansson's drawings, well, you not only want to live in them, you also want to make them yourself:  To trace each lovingly made line, over hills, trees, the sea, and around the expressive creatures that live in her beautifully detailed world:  Snorks, Whompers, Little Creeps, Hemulens, and Dwellers Under the Sink.

I want, my love, to tell you each chapter, because they are so sweet and fine, but it would spoil the slow unspooling of the tale that is yours for the reading.  Just open the book and slip inside.

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