Going for a walk
The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment
May 14, 2022
As the weather becomes more moderate, many people are itching to get out and enjoy wide open spaces and big skies. Hikers are challenged on mountain trails, picnics are enjoyed under towering trees, walks through meadows of wildflowers soothes the soul. All are possible in Tehachapi, throughout California and beyond.
I decided to look beyond when choosing books for this review. I came across a nice little story that took place on an island off the coast of Washington State. Jonathan Edward Durham wrote “Winterset Hollow” as a book within a book, the first book being a children’s fairy tale about a rabbit, a toad, a fox and a bear.
This well beloved book is then highlighted in the second story about Eamon, Caroline and Mark who travel to the island where the fantasy was written as an homage to the author and their love for the story. What they didn’t realize is that their fantasy story was to come to life on that island. Is it not a child’s dream to see their favorite fantasy come alive? Or as an adult, to see the characters as tall as their grown up bodies? What could be more exciting? It made me wonder which favorite book I wish would come alive, to walk and talk with characters I have loved so well.
This is how the story in “Winterset Hollow” begins… After standing on a rickety pier with a group of other fans of the Winterset story, Eamon, Caroline and Mark along with the rest, are ferried over to a distant island that cannot be seen from shore. Traveling in a rather dilapidated fishing trawler, some fought sickness from bouncing ocean waves. All were ready to disembark and walk the beach and up a path to a large locked metal gate. They could see the sprawling mansion in the distance, but only the top of the roof with its gables.
Some came prepared to leave messages at the gate, most reflecting fond childhood memories, thankful for the happiness the story had brought into their lives. A story of Runnymead the rabbit who had a wanderlust and wanted to go beyond the forbidden hedges, Flackwell the toad who could cook magnificent banquets of delectable foods, Finn the wiley fox and Bing the huge bear who was the builder of many great things. Then there was Barley Day, a once a year celebration with wonderful food and merriment. The day they landed on the island happened to be Barley Day! And the sudden dash of a rabbit in the brush inside the gate was exciting. But the fence, made of metal bars and two stories tall, was impossible to climb.
Leaving the others at the gate to reminisce, Eamon, Caroline and Mark decided to hike a worn path above the beach. They came across an immense felled tree that had toppled the metal fence with room enough to crawl through. Their walk became a hike through a forest of trees, into beautiful wide meadows with a meandering creek. A beautiful day! But I would be remiss if I didn’t warn you that in spite of laying out to you a lovely fantasy come alive, be careful what you wish for. I do not want to spoil the story with all of its surprises, the twists and turns. But caution is needed when going deeper into this book. Just as in real life, a fantasy can be brutal. Take on this book with that in mind!
“The Call of the Wild” by Jack London is another story that draws the reader into nature. This time it is through the eyes and senses of a domesticated dog named Buck who is taken from his beloved owner and forced into servitude as a sled dog in the Klondike Gold Rush, 1890s Yukon in Alaska. In “Call of the Wild,” the reader sees the land, thick forests, rugged mountains and glorious meadows plus deep snow. The intrusion of man and the hierarchy of canines are told through the dog’s perspective. Doesn’t the wild, at times, call us all?
But if you do not feel up to island fantasy with an edge or the brutal life of a dog gone wild, perhaps “The Hike” by Alison Farrel will fulfill your desire to move through nature. The children “run like maniacs” with freedom in the forest until they slow to identify plants and enjoy the animals that cross their path. Both a delightful and informative adventure.
Sometimes, when we cannot get out to explore, books can take us to the places we desire. Sometimes reading about nature encourages us to step outside and do some exploring on our own. Baby steps are okay. We have Philip Marx Central Park with its tall trees that whisper mysteries and Mountain Park with a canopy of trees that spreads across the hillsides like a thick green quilt. Both are filled with many wondrous living things. Nature calls us all to itself, one way or another. Enjoy!
*Midge Lyn’dee is a fictional character used for the purpose of entertainment though the reviews are real and sincere.