Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Book 25: The House At Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne

This book hardly even qualifies as having been written. It materialized out of the ether and entranced the entire planet.

I remember being mesmerized by the hollow trees and the stout honey jars. What was wrong with Eeyore? Why was Piglet so scared? How could someone as dimwitted as Owl believe so fiercely in their own intelligence? Why was Rabbit so pissed off at everyone all the time?

And then there was Pooh. I don't know about you but I RELATE. As a kid the world pretty much was incomprehensible and humorous at the same time. Pooh seems to exist beyond any action/reaction relationship to his surroundings. His essence floats from moment to moment treating everything the same. Pure equality of contact.

Cashel loved Winnie the Pooh as well. I would read to him from 'The House At Pooh Corner' which has portions that I'd forgotten since my childhood. His fevered end-of-day cheeks pressed against a pillow or my chest I would slowly take each word from the page and give them to him. More often than not I fell asleep as well with Tigger just about to appear.

Ah, Tigger. Anarchy. No boundaries. No sense of repercussion or consequence. Pure id. I remember being benignly frightened of Tigger when I was little, he was like the friend who convinced you to do something stupid like jump off the top of the jungle gym. But man was that kid fun.

I understand why I tear up when I think about Christopher Robin and all of his playmates. I am nostalgic for my own childhood, for Cashel's which is rapidly receding into the past. But as a kid there was nothing nostalgic about Winnie the Pooh at all. It was pure fun. WHY??? WHY???

Trying to articulate how this particular story achieves its greatness is like trying to make air into ink. Not only is it impossible but it would take magic and even then you couldn't quite be sure why or what you were really doing.

There is scaffolding inside of me. Way down at the roots where the foundation begins I have real memories of Winnie the Pooh staring bemusedly at the rising water around his bed. I couldn't have imagined that the memory of my own boy listening to the same story would one day be almost as far back down the scaffold. Before you know it he'll be reading to his child.

Was there ever a time when this world didn't exist? Seems to me that Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Owl, Rabbit, Eeyore, Kanga, Roo and Christopher Robin came hurtling out of the Big Bang fully formed, just waiting for A.A. Milne to arrive and pin them down.

1 comment:

Al said...

That conjures up some memories. My daughter's room was a salute to The Hundred Acre Wood. It goes by fast, no?