Friday, July 27, 2007

Literary Leos

I'm getting ready to leave town for a brief foray into the Mississippi Delta with The Loved One. He will be playing golf. I will be doing girly things like swimming and maybe getting my nails done. I would like to do something really girly such as try skeet shooting, but I'm being discouraged. Perhaps rather than ask, I'll just tell him about it later.

I would be wrong to neglect mentioning the birthdays (today and tomorrow) of Hilaire Belloc and Beatrix Potter, he in 1870 and she in 1866.

I don't often wish to change my place in life with anyone, but I think that if I could be anyone who ever lived, Beatrix Potter would most likely top my list. Besides being a brilliantly-creative woman, she was forward-thinking, independent, imaginative, forthright and stubborn--all qualities I prize highly. Too often dismissed as "merely" the author and illustrator of timeless books for children, she was also an ardent champion for the preservation of farm communities in England's Lake District, and spent much of her life, earnings and inheritance in the pursuit. Her love affair and brief engagement with Norman Warne is the stuff of true romance...real love against all odds. Had he lived, who knows how her life might have ended up differently, but I suspect he might have seconded her just as stoutly in the causes she chose to support.

The Loved One gave Dear Daughter a copy of The Beatrix Potter Journal for Christmas last year. This is a lovely book, containing extracts from her journals from childhood to adulthood. One can trace the evolution of her art and writing page by delightful page. As Dear Daughter teeters on the edge of teenagerism, it makes my heart so glad to see her pulling out this book from time to time and curling up in her mushroom chair to read again the tale of a Most Remarkable Woman Who Loved Rabbits.

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