Sunday, July 12, 2009

it was a bright sunday morning . . .

it rained and thundered and there was lightning flickering around like snake-tongues across the yellow-grey sky.

sometimes the rain smells like the sea. sometimes it smells like soil. yesterday it smelled like a fast-moving river. clean.

it washed the air and left a clear-sky evening with lots of stars. i looked for the space-station but i dont really know where to look so i just saw the blurry flickers of far-away stars.

the summer holidays are times of remembering and recharging the many batteries that allow steven to be.

probably the most powerful and direct recharging source i have is reading. i read as much as i can during the school year but it is fragmented and often at the time when i am least focussed - one half hour before i fall into the dreamless sleep that characterizes true tiredness. i am careful to read as many new books as possible but there are some that i can read over and over.


among my many many favourite books is one written in 1969 and set in the 1930's. a semi-autobiographical account of a journey undertaken by the author. the story begins . . .

"it was a bright sunday morning in early june, the right time to be leaving home. my three sisters and a brother had already gone before me; two other brothers had yet to make up their minds. they were still sleeping that morning, but my mother had got up early and cooked me a heavy breakfast, had stood wordlessly while i ate it, her hand on my chair, and had then helped me pack up my few belongings. there had been no fuss, no appeals, no attempts at advice or persuasion, only a long and searching look. then, with my bags on my back, i'd gone out into the early sunshine and climbed through the long wet grass to the road.


it was 1934. i was nineteen years old, still soft at the edges, but with a confident belief in good fortune. i carried a small rolled-up tent, a violin in a blanket, a change of clothes, a tin of treacle biscuits, and some cheese. i was excited, vain-glorious, knowing i had far to go; but not, as yet, how far. as i left home that morning and walked away from the sleeping village, it never occured to me that others had done this before me."

as with all journeys that are worth anything, this one is rich with discovery, trials and tribulations, but through it all the author maintains his sense of wonder coupled with an awakening awareness of a world that is rapidly changing. the early approaches of the war that would forever change the world colour what might otherwise be an idyllic tramp through europe in the 1930's.

oh by the way, this excerpt is from a book by author laurie lee entitled as i walked out one midsummer morning. this book was nominated by england's telegraph newspaper as one of the top twenty travel books of all time. to view the other nineteen, go here.

8 comments:

willow said...

You've blogged on Laurie Lee before. I'm falling in love with him!

steven said...

hi willow, i love that he tells of an england more or less gone. there's a quality of innocence about his writing. i've only read the first three of his six books and they were all beautiful. have a peaceful day. steven

The Weaver of Grass said...

I love all Laurie Lee's books - especially Cider with Rosie - there is also arather sad one about his involvement in the Spanish Civil War - do you know that one?

Amelia said...

Once again ,beautiful photos. I really loved the line, "yesterday it smelled like a fast-moving river. clean." Ahhhh...I can almost smell it myself.

With my recent "new life", I have found myself going to the library more. I found a book a few days ago that I love, and then yesterday I bought one. I too, have a few books on my shelf that I could read over and over and never tire.

Happy Sunday. Thanks for your love and support. *hugs*

steven said...

hi weaver, this one i excerpted here has a fair bit at the end about the spanish civil war but i noticed in the list of books to laurie's credit that there's one of his books that suggests it might focus a bit more on the war. i have to admit that i put my blinkers on when there's mention of war. have a peaceful day. steven

steven said...

hi amelia, thanks for the nice compliment. i have always loved reading because whether my life has been rock-bottom or sky high or anywhere in-between, i've learned from their words and ideas, managed to escape when i needed, had my deepest understandings and dreams confirmed, well the list is long! have a peaceful day. steven

Delwyn said...

Hi Steven

that's it I am going to re-read Cider with Rosie and this one...

I have so many books on the to read list....every day I write down another title but I find blogger's reviews to be pretty sound.

Thanks for the travel books link. I have read 8 of them so now have some more catching up to do.

I loved Theroux's Riding the Iron Rooster (through China - not included on the list)

thanks for the leads, and lovely clouds. I love the smell of rain on hot pavement - smells like the school ground of childhood. and of course the smell of rain in the forest - so verdant...

Happy days

steven said...

hi delwyn, i know your suffering!! i spend the months of march, april, and may buying books and having them shipped to my house for summer reading. the problem is there are all the other books i have picked up and not read in the preceeding months of the school year!! oh no!!! i've read ten of the "best travel books". my favourite of all of them was thesiger's "arabian sands". it might surprise you to know that "the weaver of grass" is also a big thesiger fan! for now though i am ordering up "the god of small things" by roy and "venice" by jan morris. venice being one of the three cities in the world i would choose to spend a longer period of time in. i loved the rain memories. have a peaceful day. steven