Saturday, February 25, 2017

Crow hosts the daffodils

When there's mud between the snowbanks, spring can't be far behind. This is most definitely a picture from somewhere else at some other time, but it's one Crow and I have a great fondness for. Perhaps it's about some future when things are a little less crazy in the world. Did you know that recent statistics in England showed more children had been hospitalized for falling out of bed than from falling out of trees?

Meanwhile, some thoughts about fairy tales and fantasy, when the need has grown large:

"In an age that seems to be increasingly dehumanized, when people can be transformed into non-persons, and where a great deal of our adult art seems to diminish our lives rather than add to them, children's literature insists on the values of humanity and humaneness." 
- Lloyd Alexander

"The great subversive works of children's literature suggest that there are other views of human life besides those of the shopping mall and the corporation. They mock current assumptions and express the imaginative, unconventional, noncommercial view of the world in its simplest and purest form. They appeal to the imaginative, questioning, rebellious child within all of us, renew our instinctive energy, and act as a force for change. This is why such literature is worthy of our attention and will endure long after more conventional tales have been forgotten."
- Alison Lurie

"The fairy tale, which to this day is the first tutor of children because it was once the first tutor of mankind, secretly lives on in the story. The first true storyteller is, and will continue to be, the teller of fairy tales. Whenever good counsel was at a premium, the fairy tale had it, and where the need was greatest, its aid was nearest."
- Walter Benjamin

"People who’ve never read fairy tales have a harder time coping in life than the people who have. They don’t have access to all the lessons that can be learned from the journeys through the dark woods and the kindness of strangers treated decently, the knowledge that can be gained from the company and example of Donkeyskins and cats wearing boots and steadfast tin soldiers. I’m not talking about in-your-face lessons, but more subtle ones. The kind that seep up from your sub-conscious and give you moral and humane structures for your life. That teach you how to prevail, and trust. And maybe even love."
- Charles de Lint

The thing about fairy tales is you have to live through them, before you get to the happily ever after. That ever after has to be earned, and not everyone makes it that far.

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Ol'Buzzard said...

An unexpected preview of spring in Maine - forty degree weather and muddy roads with three feet of snow still on the ground.
the Ol'Buzzard

Andrew R. Scott said...

My mother used to look at me disapprovingly and somewhat concerned whenever, as a child, I heard the words "and they all lived happily ever after" and I began to always add: "until they died." I became a miserable realist too soon, perhaps.

You always manage to add lovely extra touches to a picture, like the distant other children running to join in (I presume, and hopefully not to trample over the flowers and spoil the fun?)

Sean Jeating said...

Dear Crow, loveliest of all Susans,
only yesterday and the day before I had the pleasure to accompany Haroun – the boy you introduced me to, a while ago – to the Sea of Stories.
Tonight, I was going to tell all adventures we were to live, but do have to accept this would be a PTCTE (Process Too Complicated To Explain)
Thus, all I can hope is your esteemed readers may be as lucky as I was.

P.S. 8 o'clock?! Only the early Crow is picking the daffodils, eh? :)

Should Fish More said...

Indeed, many do not live as long as they should, to see these things. Bill Koho for one, a friend from high school, didn't make it through the Vietnam fiasco. I identified him, in DaNang, in a refrigerated room.
Sorry for the less than cheerful response. One can 'google' Bill, a few still remember him.
Were I to recommend a reading list to anyone, I'd suggest the Newbury Award books....they can suggest wisdom to adults, as well as being good reading.

Tom said...

Ah! A little "Ecclesiasticus" in its own right, I think.

susan said...

We heard from our son in Providence, RI that the temperature there on Friday was 75F. That's just wrong.

susan said...

It seems that even then skepticism brought you wry amusement.

Yes, the distant children were late finishing their breakfast.

susan said...

As the author said, 'Any story worth its salt can handle a little shaking up'.

I'm delighted to know you enjoyed it and that you have others eager to hear the tale, Sean.

ps: That you always check the time makes me smile. :)

susan said...

I'm sorry this reminded you of sadness and loss, Mike. When I searched for your friend it made me feel sorry too that he never returned to live a full life with a family of his own.

Yes, I agree that a number of the Newberry (and Caldecotte) winners are well worth the time. 'Holes' was a favourite of mine.

susan said...

A little Wisdom never goes amiss, does it, Tom?

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Susan,
One of your lovely paintings from the archives – I remember it well and it perfectly fits in with your spring and the post thematic theme of fairy tales and children’s author quotes. Author’s mainly happy endings and hope are in stark contrast to the sad and often ugly side of life prevailing when many were first written. But it seems hope with a perfect measure of a deliberately undeveloped plot continues to capture successive generation’s imagination. And of course we even have the ever popular film, operatic and ballet versions. Despite modernity it seems to me Children still do relish climbing up trees or seeking out natures’ delights with a dog as you’re painting suggests. Our grandchildren are always keen to demonstrate cartwheels, moves on the monkey bars or trampoline and relish scaling trees, to exhibit a curiosity about life that hopefully is not going to diminish.
Best wishes

susan said...

Hi Lindsay,
I'm happy to know you remember this one as a drawing from last year - when I hadn't yet worked up the energy to turn it into a painting. I loved the old fairytales when I was a child and still recall their lessons of how to live in the world. Many of them remain relevant.
It's good to know your grandchildren enjoy playing outdoors and that you delight in their exploits and happy company.
All the best

marja-leena said...

Daffodils already? Here in usually balmy Vancouver we've had the coldest winter in 8 years. We even had snow yesterday Feb.28th, not sure if that has eve happened in our memory! Anyway, the snowdrops and crocuses survive and life goes on.
I'm late commenting here because earlier I didn't have time to check out that last link, and am glad I remembered to come back. Wow, what amazing, poignant and timely art work with such simple yet beautiful material. Thanks, Susan, you do always find such treasures.
Sending wishes for an early spring!

susan said...

Unfortunately, despite the fact we've had an unusually mild winter here it's still NS so no daffodils yet, Marja-Leena. In fact, if things go the normal way we'll be seeing spring flowers sometime in late May. I also remember a couple of harsh winters out west, but, as you say the snowdrops and crocuses are harbingers of nicer days. That's a good thing too.
I'm very happy you came back to see the beautiful images created by the Syrian artist - simple but staggeringly descriptive.
Happy spring soon to come, my friend!