I’ve had a lot of time to myself lately on my early morning runs. My running partners have been sick, or dealing with sick kids, or out of town for kid commitments, or relishing a bit of family time now that the kids are not sick. I don’t mind running by myself. I especially like it on the mountain. Instead of chatting, I have time to think. I’ve been thinking about Winnie the Pooh characters lately.
Shortly after Jim and I got together, I discovered that he had never read, or had read to him, the AA Milne series. We started reading them to each other at night, which quickly evolved into me reading to him. Loving those books, he wanted more. I still had the copy of The Tao of Pooh, written by Benjamin Hoff that I had picked up in college. It was lost for a while, then recovered from my sister’s car after her fatal accident. I pulled it off the shelf, opened it for the 1st time since, and chunks of tarmac and shards of glass emerged. We gulped. But, we read it anyway. That book became the foundation for our wedding vows. In arguments, I would accuse Jim of being a bisy backson, and he would tell me to stop being so owl like. The night Jim died, I read to him from that book. He gave a half-smile. It was his last voluntary movement. I’m still learning from that book.
I am a self avowed Piglet. I’m scared of a lot of things, I’m not very big, and I really like having a good friend close by. Jim was a Tigger. The world excited him, he bounced his way through it, there wasn’t a mean bone in his body, and if he hurt anyone, it was generally a poorly aimed expression of exuberance. I know people who are Rabbits, always working, working, working. I know wise Owls that live mostly in their heads. Eyeores have their place in this world, and deserve my compassion, but when Piglet and Eyeore get together they seem to spend most of their time wandering in circles in the forest being scared of Heffalumps. What I find myself craving these days is the company of Pooh. Wise without knowing it, willing to work for a tangible reward, slow and methodical rather than bouncy, accepting of all the characters of the forest. Pooh is gentle and loyal, with himself and with his friends.
I know that book characters are simple to tell a story, and that human beings are complex and evolve over time. Yet, I do believe that we have an inner core that really changes little. This piglet is tired and still a little scared. She needs to be held gently, by herself, and by Pooh.
By the time it came to the edge of the Forest the stream had grown up, so that it was almost a river, and, being grown-up, it did not run and jump and sparkle along as it used to do when it was younger, but moved more slowly. For it knew now where it was going, and it said to itself, “There is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”