Maybe it’s because summer is just around the corner.
Or maybe it’s Kenneth Grahame smiling down at us from Heaven.
All I know is that a delightful number of my blogging buddies have been inspired to write about one of my favorite books, Wind in the Willows.
Rusty over at the Honey Bee Suite got us started in back in March:
In “The Wind in the Willows” author Kenneth Grahame writes, “Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING—absolutely nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing—about in boats.”
As a kid, I believed this with all my heart. I had a small wooden sailboat that I tinkered with every waking hour. After school, I dumped my textbooks in the kitchen, grabbed a peanut butter sandwich, and spent the rest of the afternoon simply messing. Boats, especially wooden ones, require constant attention. I would refinish the boom, adjust the blocks, scrape barnacles, or re-splice some part of the rigging. I didn’t have to sail the boat to be happy, I just had to be near it, touching it.
I loved the gentle cry of herring gulls, the dead-fish scent of low tide, and the tang of spray on my lips. I was always by myself but never alone. Squirrelly things make good company—horseshoe crabs, jellyfish, minnows, herring gulls—things that listen without belittling, things that share without dividing.
Although I haven’t had a boat in many years, it often occurs to me that beehives answer my desire to mess, to tinker, to adjust. Even more, they provide the solitude that is so precious to me. Alone in my shed, I refinish a box, cut a new entrance, or sketch plans for the next project. I wire frames, scrape propolis, or melt old comb. The sounds, the odors, the very woodenness of the hive draw me into a four-dimensional universe unfettered by schedules, cell phones, and e-mails. It’s place where no one cares about dust or asks if we’re out of ketchup.
Yes, I love the bees and I miss them during the dreary northwest winters. But the stolen moment when I can pound nails or drill holes is a golden one. Messing makes beekeeping worth it. Even when the mites conquer, the bees die, and the moths feast, the thought of tinkering with hives pulls me into the next year . . . the beekeeping year that will be the very best ever.
Then Robin at Bringing Europe Home chimed in:
The languid days of summer have set the mood for this week’s quote. Besides, I hear that there has been quite a lot of “messing about in boats” on the Thames, lately.
“There isnothing– absolutely nothing–half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”Kenneth Grahame, from The Wind in the Willows
I’m offering this post as a blogging challenge. I invite you to use the quote as an inspiration for your own post this week and interpret it as you like, using a photograph, a story, a reflection, a poem, a song, a recipe, a cup of tea –whatever! Please title this one, “Quotes from the Masters: Grahame” and please add the link to this page on your post. I’d be delighted to see a link to your post on the comments section of this page, too.
Today Penny at Life On the Cutoff’s Blog posted a beautiful quote:
Sunday, June 10, 2012 by lifeonthecutoff
” . . . Never in his life had he seen a river before – this sleek, sinuous, full-bodied animal, chasing and chuckling, gripping things with a gurgle and leaving them with a laugh, to fling itself on fresh playmates that shook themselves free, and were caught and held again. All was a-shake and a-shiver – glints and gleams and sparkles, rustle and swirl, chatter and bubble. The Mole was bewitched, entranced, fascinated. By the side of the river he trotted, as one trots, when very small, by the side of a man who holds one spellbound by exciting stories; and when tired at last, he sat on the bank, while the river still chattered on to him, a babbling procession of the best stories in the world, sent from the heart of the earth to be told at least to the insatiable sea. “
The Wind in the Willows, The River Bank, by Kenneth Grahame
Book illustration by Ernest H. Shepard
As for me, I blogged about the two young hedgehogs who got lost on their way to school. I’m also rereading the book. Penny just finished rereading it!!
It seems to me that the spirit of The River has touched the souls of a number of us gardeners and beekeepers. Perhaps that was what Mr. Grahame intended all along…
- 10 Books Every Fantasy Author Should Read [Daily 10] (io9.com)
- The Land Of Dormice And Hedgehogs (romancingthebee.com)
- A Beloved Classic – The Wind in the Willows (bethtrissel.wordpress.com)
- Quotes from the Masters: Grahame (bringingeuropehome.com)
- Mr Toad’s Wedding #SampleSunday Winner of the Kenneth Grahame Society Writing Competition (martinlakewriting.wordpress.com)