Do you ever, now, as an adult, when staying in the spare bedroom of a friend’s house, open the wardrobe to find it full of coats? Coats used rarely so hung up in an empty room mothballing and waiting… and when you find it full of coats do you ever push through them with your hands just in case it happens that you will push through and on the other side will be (you know, I know you know) a land of snow and ice and Aslan and magic?
I do. I really do and I really have pushed my hands through just in case. I haven’t found Narnia yet but am ever hopeful that it does exist. I am 37.
I speak of this because I am halfway through Neil Gaiman’s new book and it is liberally sprinkled with the magic of his (it has to be his) childhood. The scale and mysteries and characters of childhood and I am absolutely loving it to the extent that writing a post which usually comes last on my list, has come up the list, because I want to try and eke this book out instead of devouring in one which glumph. I don’t care if that isn’t a word. Having said this, I know that I will be entirely unsuccessful as I’ll be straight back at it after this is done and dusted.
A quote from the book, it’s called The Ocean At The End Of The Lane:
“Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences”.
I like to think that I have retained a little of the child even though I am now a bona fide grown up with a truly serious job, career even, and three children, one of whom has grown-uppedness starting to bite at her heels (poor love).
Not losing the wonder, getting excited about small things, finding different paths, noticing the dust of the fairies on the everyday. It’s harder and harder to do once you have your own little people to care for and a mortgage and responsibilities and all that, but I think it may be one of the most important things to keep.
I’m still looking for the tiny door in a tree which leads to………, I might even write about it one day. But for now, I’ve procrastinated enough, it’s back to Lettie and… Neil.