Posts Tagged With: reading

Children’s Literature Pilgrimage, Part III

Lucie climbing Cat Bells

As we continued our 25th wedding anniversary trip, my husband Franklin and I drove up to the beautiful Lake District, home of poets and Beatrix Potter. I had visited Hill Top Farm back in the 1980s, recognizing the door and dresser that make their way into some of the Peter Rabbit books. This trip, we skipped the farm, as we were headed further north, to the town of Keswick. Little did I know that we would be in Beatrix Potter land nonetheless.

We wanted to hike, not just drive through the beautiful countryside, so we made a climb up Cat Bells, two large hills on the shore of Derwentwater. Those of you who know your Beatrix Potter books will remember that she writes “I have seen that door into the back of the hill called Cat Bells–and besides, I am very well acquainted with dear Mrs. Tiggy-winkle!”

We had picture-perfect weather as we climbed the hillside, and just like Lucie, we hiked “along a steep path-way–up and up–until Little-town was right away down below–she could have dropped a pebble down the chimney.”

Emily climbing Cat Bells

I could have dropped a pebble down the chimney.

The view from the top was lovely. Looking out over  Derwentwater, we could see Owl Island, and imagine impertinent Squirrel Nutkin rowing over to it with his friends.

Squirrel Nutkin rows to Owl Island on Derwentwater

Here I am on nearing the top of Cat Bells, with Owl Island in the lake below.

The The Lake District is certainly a place that begs to be painted. Every sculpted green hill, every stone fence guarding another  flock of sheep, every foxglove and sparkling lake sings with beauty. I can see why Beatrix Potter loved this place, and treasure her art all the more as I look beyond her whimsical creatures to see the idyllic setting in which they lived.

Now I must go find Jemima Puddleduck–I believe there is a lovely painting with foxgloves in that book.

The boat took us around the wrong side of the island–we didn’t get the high fells in the background.

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Escape with a Good Book

How many of us have curled up under an afghan on a cold winter day and escaped into the pages of a good book?   A book could take me from a farmhouse in Wisconsin to a tropical island, a medieval castle, or west on the Oregon Trail. I could escape place or time while reading.

These days I have similar adventures while writing books.  “I’m sorry, my mind is in 1871,” I’ve said to my family.  I see a car driving past on the street, but in my mind I’m hearing a horse’s hooves clopping along the road.  I find myself trying to readjust to the present after I’ve been dwelling in another century.

Isn’t this what good literature does? It takes us out of one world and into another.  And when a book speaks truths that transcend time, we have a treasure indeed. Take time this winter to curl up with a good book.  And when the warm weather comes, save a little time for Plank Road Summer.  We hope you will enjoy an escape to the past–and perhaps even be touched in the present.

Categories: On Writing | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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