Alexander Averin

Friday 16 December 2011

On Childhood

Dear Diary,

I feel sluggish this week, I always dread this time of year and have no inspiration to write so today's post will just be a  Walt Whitman poem that I love and and a couple of pictures on the subject of children and  'gifts' - perhaps it's because Christmas is on the horizon,  well its almost impossible to avoid and hard to escape it, bah humbug.
There was a child went forth every day
And the first object he look'd upon, that object he became;
And that object became part of him for the day, or a certain part of
the day, or for many years, or stretching cycles of years.

The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass, and white and red morning-glories, and white and red clover, and the song of the phoebe-bird,
And the Third-month lambs, and the sow's pink-faint litter, and the mare's foal, and the cow's calf,
And the noisy brood of the barn-yard, or by the mire of the pond-side,
And the fish suspending themselves so curiously below there--and the beautiful curious liquid,
And the water-plants with their graceful flat heads--all became part of him.

The field-sprouts of Fourth-month and Fifth-month became part of him;
Winter-grain sprouts, and those of the light-yellow corn, and the esculent roots of the garden,
And the apple-trees cover'd with blossoms, and the fruit afterward,
and wood-berries, and the commonest weeds by the road;
And the old drunkard staggering home from the out-house of the tavern, whence he had lately risen,
And the school-mistress that pass'd on her way to the school,
And the friendly boys that pass'd--and the quarrelsome boys,
And the tidy and fresh-cheek'd girls--and the barefoot negro boy and girl,
And all the changes of city and country, wherever he went.

His own parents,
He that had father'd him, and she that had conceiv'd him in her womb, and birth'd him,
They gave this child more of themselves than that;
They gave him afterward every day--they became part of him.

The mother at home, quietly placing the dishes on the supper-table;
The mother with mild words--clean her cap and gown, a wholesome odor
falling off her person and clothes as she walks by;
The father, strong, self-sufficient, manly, mean, anger'd, unjust;
The blow, the quick loud word, the tight bargain, the crafty lure,
The family usages, the language, the company, the furniture--the yearning and swelling heart,
Affection that will not be gainsay'd--the sense of what is real--the thought if, after all, it should prove unreal,
The doubts of day-time and the doubts of night-time--the curious whether and how,
Whether that which appears so is so, or is it all flashes and specks?
Men and women crowding fast in the streets--if they are not flashes and specks, what are they?
The streets themselves, and the fa├žades of houses, and goods in the windows,
Vehicles, teams, the heavy-plank'd wharves--the huge crossing at the ferries,
The village on the highland, seen from afar at sunset--the river between,
Shadows, aureola and mist, the light falling on roofs and gables of white or brown, three miles off,
The schooner near by, sleepily dropping down the tide--the little boat slack-tow'd astern,
The hurrying tumbling waves, quick-broken crests, slapping,
The strata of color'd clouds, the long bar of maroon-tint, away
solitary by itself--the spread of purity it lies motionless in,
The horizon's edge, the flying sea-crow, the fragrance of salt marsh and shore mud;
These became part of that child who went forth every day, and who now goes, and will always go forth every day.

Walt Whitman

I would be the most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. 

Anna Quindlen

Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,
Cait aka Ms Scrooge


Vee said...

I don't know why. I see Walt Whitman and I don't read for long. He sails so far over my poor brain I think and I find myself wondering, "Now what did that mean?" The graphics are delightful. There's something about children sledding down the drive that is very appealing not to mention decorating with books. I hope that you find some delight, Cait, or create some.

Frances said...

Cait, over my longish life, I have had many different attitudes towards Christmas, and over those years have also sensed that the world outside my own person has also developed different attitudes.

I will not call these changes evolution.

Without children of my own, I know that I have missed more than one beat of what holidays can be. Even so, I love this time of the year, love the lights that brighten up the longer nights, love making and sending gifts to loved ones, love gathering together with friends.

(And, I do not love the commercial aspects that seem to grow larger each year.)

Cait, again you have engaged my thinking, and that little inner journey continues.