You Are Not Alone

Friday, February 4, 2011

Annest of Anne’s

When I was six years old, I had a friend named Jonah. Jonah was a girl, which is an interesting, even eyebrow raising comment now but then, it was just interesting, (coincidentally, I think her name Purdy darn awesome and, ahead of it’s time…).

Jonah had black, fluffy, curly hair. Jonah’s hair was kept in barrette’s, I would imagine by her Mother. She had the loveliest garden and, I always had a great time playing at her house.

One day, in the bud of a Washington summer, she invited me to her house to watch a television show. Being Six, I wasn’t terribly concerned but completely up for an adventure, I agreed.

I followed Jonah through her house, (one of those houses that had a spicy smell I would grow to learn, love, appreciate and yearn to emulate because it seemed exotic and had a hint of far off lands) down a set of stairs and ended up in her furnished basement in front of a television.

With the carefree limberness of youth, I stretched out on the carpeted floor as she switched on the television and an advertisement for the Public Broadcasting Station or, PBS, came on.

Jonah and I chatted in the way six-year girls do as the lengthy PBS commercials droned on and then, the most heavenly music came through the television’s speakers and Jonah and I fell silent. As the images of a lush, vibrant and fertile Prince Edward Island filled the screen amid the drama of young, homely, spirited and imaginative red-headed girl we found ourselves enthralled and enchanted. What followed was a total hour in which two six-year old girls were totally, completely, miraculously silent.

I know, unheard of.

As the credits rolled, we exhaled our held breath and, normalcy as the life of a six-year old dictates, resumed. Forgoing any analysis of the show, (which happens far too often in my adult life) we leapt upon the most romantic and dramatic parts like hungry wolf cubs and began to act them out in a fever of excitement.

As our time to play together came to a close, my heart burned and yearned for the next time I could come to Jonah’s house to watch, “Anne of Green Gables”. My dearest six-year old wish and dream was to be able to go back to Jonah’s house so I could find out what happened to, “Anne”.

I faithfully returned to Jonah’s house for some weeks after, so that I could watch the next installment and, in the way of six-year olds, we lost interest in television and focused on our imagined Barbie Drama’s, Dress Up, climbing trees and other games of pretend but, “Anne of Green Gables” was not forgotten, only stored away as a treasure so that I might find her again, one day.

Years went by, blissfully measured and slow, leaving me time to fill my head with hopes and dreams of a day when I was, “grown-up”. Through trials and joys, through the beautiful Green lake, WA seasons, (when I was a child, there were seasons in Green lake, WA) I gained inches, made my elders laugh with my foibles, loved the bits out of some lucky cardboard boxes, spent nights gazing out of my bedroom window at the stars, climbed daringly out of my bedroom window to the roof to sit peacefully under the boughs of the most faithful, incandescent, gorgeous cherry tree that ever was and tromped through a yard full of grass, sometimes spring blooms of tulips, bluebells, sweet pea, Iris, whatever that ugly flower is that is the Washington State flower that just exists on a bush and, fluffy dandelions. I tromped through leaves of different colors and, sometimes snow. Sometimes the snow would come up to my knees, being a wee person, and it would seep through my clothes but, I didn’t care. I would stay out in the cold for hours before the light of the house poured out of the front door, Mother silhouetting it, calling her ducklings to come in for a bath that would give us prickles but, would feel so nice!

Little did I know but, I was one of Anne’s, “Kindred Spirits” in those days. L.M. Montgomery, the author of the, “Anne” series had perfectly wrote and captured the everlasting spirit of those who live in Fairy lands.

It wasn’t until years later, when I was hatching into young womanhood, that I found Anne again. I happened upon the television show one day, again on PBS. I recognized the show from the music and stopped what I was doing, let the remote down reverently in my transfixed state.

My Step mom wandered into the living room, my Sisters toddled in and out and  yet, they all stopped and watched for awhile. We were all transfixed on the televised life of this young girl, who lived on Prince Edward Island, in the nineteenth century.

Wholesome, is what most would call the Anne Chronicles. I believe them to be Manna for the soul and, if L.M. Montgomery around in spirit, had an ear tuned to the hearts of the children who fell in love with Anne, who found her to be a, “Kindred Spirit” I believe she would blush with the praise, feel joy that so many have found in her stories of Anne.

It was when I was on the threshold of womanhood that I felt most keen about Anne. I held onto the spirit of Anne’s world, really our world, until late in life.

I eventually read L.M. Montgomery’s books about Anne and, found them even more gratifying and satisfying than the television show ever made me feel.

When my feet touched the path of womanhood, I found that they still lifted and floated into the land of Fairies and Kindred Spirits. I had found so much in life to support my belief in Fairy Land and in Kindred Spirits, (I’m talking about you, Katherine, my Diana, my Bosom Friend, my Kindred Spirit) that my joy in life was made all that more full and complete in knowing that there was a story heroine that lived in such a way, too.

Lately, I’ve picked up the Anne series again. I make time for reading because, my Son isn’t in love with me being on the computer but, he gives me his blessing when it comes to books and television, (it’s not that I’m on the computer that long but, he’ll come tug on my pants if I take longer than twenty minutes when he’s not busy with his own play).

I felt as if I had found a veritable treasure when I stumbled upon a box set of the first three, “Anne” novels, in an consignment shop, (My Treasure find was made even sweeter by the fact that the shop was having a fifty percent off sale). They were a special collector’s edition, (in paperback so, not that impressive as far as collecting goes but, no matter, I cherish books so much that they come to life in my hands. I bend the spines, I bend the corners of pages. I get so engrossed that I eat while I read and drop bits of coffee and food on the pages. I laugh and sneeze and cough and take them to the bathroom. Oh, by the way, you should be careful when you borrow a book from me. It is well loved and cherished. I mean, if I can’t put it down, it’s positively germy. Just saying…). The only thing that made me blink twice about those books, in a glossy set, being “Collector’s Edition” was the juicy bit of information on the author, L.M. Montgomery. When I read books I cherish and adore to bits and pieces from reading them so often and marking them with sneezes and food, I want to know more about the person who has the most fascinating imagination to have dreamt and written a story! Anyway…Boy! Do I get off track! Seeing those books for sale in the consignment shop, positively new, unread and uncherished made me sad that someone had decided to sell them off but, I was the more glad of it!

As it happened, I had just finished the last of the, “Anne” series and was kind of pinning for the first three, that I did not possess. To find the first three, “Anne” novels, made me feel as if the finger of God was brushing my nape to give me the sunshine and hope I was lacking and needing.

I left the consignment shop with three shirts, one pair of jeans, an outfit for my Son and the, “Anne” books but, I smiled most over the books. I couldn’t wait to get home to read them.

Read them, I have!

As much as I love them, I can’t help but feel saddened by how remote I feel about the hope and gladness and laughter that is contained in those books. That beautiful bundle of emotion is there for the taking and, just like Joe Banks, I feel like I have a horrid, “Brain Cloud”. That’s the beauty of L.M. Montgomery’s writing, (her name is Lucy, if you’re wondering and, she’s a genius, even if you weren’t wondering). I couldn’t help but feel…depressed and disgruntled in finding that I had wandered so far off the path from, “Tomorrow” and Fairy Land that I couldn’t feel, “kindred” to them. My feelings didn’t stop me from optically devouring the books, (I’ve finished the three from my shop purchase and am on, “Windy Poplars” having already read, “House of Dreams“ and, “Anne of Ingleside“). As my eyes take in the words of Miss Montgomery’s story, I hope that I can open myself up to believe again.

You see, it’s important that I open myself up to believing in Fairies and, “Kindred Spirits” and other specters of imagination because, I have a child who cradles the seeds of such gems.

My Son pretends, at nearly eighteen months old. He will, “talk” on the phone. My Son will pretend to cradle babies and will mimic his dear-wum Mother. I am beyond pleased and tickled that my Son plays at pretend and, stretches his imagination. When my Son play acts and mimics, it gives my heart wings.

Sometimes, I am afraid that someday, my Son will become the kind of boy that doesn’t have imagination or belief or hope. I imagine that he’ll part from me, rend a part of himself from me, one day but, as long as we’re, “Kindred Spirits” as long as we can laugh and play and love and share secrets and hug and kiss, I think that I won’t hurt so much.

Of course I’ll love him no matter what and, I absolutely mean that to my very core, as speckled as my core is. I may not agree but, I will always love and accept, it’s a message I will sound and play over and over again for him because, it’s THAT important.

Acceptance, love, that’s the core of the, “Anne” books. What is even lovelier is, you don’t have to have acceptance and love from everyone in order to have happiness. To find Kindred Spirits to walk Fairy Land with well, that’s a hearth fire, isn’t it?

If you agree, you agree. If you don’t…there is hope yet.

I am supremely grateful for L.M. Montgomery. I am thankful for Anne. I am relieved to be reminded of the beauty of the wilderness, tamed and untamed, in the world. I find that I am reminded that there is humor in those who are cantankerous but, even those who are cantankerous have fragile hearts who desire friendship and love but, sometimes, the cantankerous are beyond hope, being quite comfortable in their…cantankerousness…LOL.

Anne helped me believe in my spirit. Anne has zest and sparkle, humor, compassion, temper, faults, laughter and a grudging peace with herself.

Anne helped me realize those things in myself. She made it OK for me to believe them in myself, to nourish and foster them.

I never knew what to answer when asked the question, “who would you invite to dinner, alive or dead?”

Without a doubt, I would invite Miss Montgomery, (and of course, Jesus would be there. No question, he's a very interesting guy. I really want to hear his thoughts and what he has to say for himself, not just what the bible says but, what HE says).

I hope I get to meet her when I shed the shell of my body and float to the home that is waiting for my soul to inhabit. I’ll make her tea, make myself coffee and I hope we’ll laugh and be real good friends, maybe even, “Kindred Spirits”.

We can talk about, “Tomorrow” because it won’t matter that we’re somewhere that may or may not have, “Tomorrow” there will just be one. We will laugh, we will thrill, we will be.

I vow, this spring, no matter how unfriendly I think the landscape of Florida, that I will find the breathtaking beauty of this land. I vow that I will reignite my spark and zest. I’ll do it because, I wish it so much. I’ll do it because, there is a tiny little man, upstairs,  snuggled into the bed that our family shares and his eyes and voice and smile reflect all that I thought I lost. There will be no stealing, only sharing.

I think it would be a very nice thing to say to your child, one day, “You gave me back my Sparkle”. Just think of the thrill!

Your Beckiest of Beckies.

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