The ‘Emily’ Novels, L. M. Montgomery

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The Flash

It had always seemed to Emily, ever since she could remember, that she was very, very near to a world of wonderful beauty. Between it and herself hung only a thin curtain; she could never draw the curtain aside—but sometimes, just for a moment, a wind fluttered it and then it was as if she caught a glimpse of the enchanting realm beyond—only a glimpse—and heard a note of unearthly music.

The moment came rarely—went swiftly, leaving her breathless with the inexpressible delight of it. She could never recall it—never summon it—never pretend it, but the wonder of it stayed with her for days….

 

I discovered Anne of Green Gables as an adult, somehow missing this whole wonderful world as a young girl. A friend who knows me well bet me I would like the Emily of New Moon series better. I thought, sacrilege!, but she is right. I have become completely enamored with what Montgomery does with fantasy and Nature. And while it blooms in Anne, it is a starburst in Emily.

Anne Shirley personifies trees, forests, flowers and springs. Emily Byrd Starr does the same, but in addition, she also has The Wind Woman and the flash. These latter two are supernatural and fairy-like reminding me of the innocent childhood inventiveness that we are supposed to grow out of, but that many of us Will Not Ever.

Though I live in an urban area, coyotes roam the streets and nap on the greens, all kinds coyote1of raptors fly through the air, I watch water birds gracefully hunt their breakfast at the river and jump when raccoons and possums dart through the bushes. They remind me to whom this land really belongs. I love to imagine all sorts of things about them. I love my crepe myrtle tree in the front yard and consider it my protector and I call an incredibly large, gnarled old tree down the street, Grandfather. I don’t know if any of this is weird, normal or if I need therapy, but I think this is why I am so drawn to the spiritual fey of  L. M. Montgomery.

Just last night I was reading a favorite passage from Emily Climbs. It has all the elements of imagination, connection to nature and creative thought Montgomery does so well. Though Emily is walking home alone in the middle of the night, she is really being escorted along the way by an incredible cast of non-human characters.

As she walked along she dramatized the night. There was about it a wild, lawless charm that appealed to a certain wild, lawless strain hidden deep in Emily’s nature—a strain that wished to walk where it would with no guidance but its own—the strain of the gypsy and the poet, the genius and the fool.

The big fir trees, released from their burden of snow, were tossing their arms freely and wildly and gladly across the moonlit fields. Was ever anything so beautiful as the shadows of those grey, clean-limbed maples on the road at her feet?

And it was easy to think, too, that other things were abroad—things that were not mortal or human. She always lived on the edge of fairyland and now she stepped right over it. The Wind Woman was really whistling eerily in the reeds of the swamp—she was sure she heard the dear, diabolical chuckles of owls in the spruce copses—something frisked across her path—it might be a rabbit or it might be a Little Grey Person: the trees put on half pleasing, half terrifying shapes they never wore by day. The dead thistles of last year were goblin groups along the fences: that shaggy old yellow birch was some satyr of the woodland: the footsteps of the old gods echoed around her: those gnarled stumps on the hill field were surely Pan piping through moonlight and shadow with his troop of laughing fauns. It was delightful to believe they were.

Emily is a young writer and crosses the line between fantasy and reality on an almost daily basis, by which she is jeered at and criticized by her reality-based family. It never daunts her, though, no matter how hot the teasing. She is secure in how she sees the world, which is my lesson. She is my role model.

 

Trail walking with Jess

Trail walking with Jess in a magical gum grove.

 

______________________

Montgomery, L. M. Emily Climbs. New York: Bantam, 1993. First published in 1925 by Frederick A. Stokes Co.

 Montgomery, L.M. Emily of New Moon. New York: Harper and Row, 1993. First published in 1923 by Frederick A. Stokes Co.

 

The Aftereffects of a 24-Hour Reading Jag

I still cannot believe I read (on and off, but mostly on) for 24 hours. I now know that there is a change of light in the night sky at 4 am…thanks to my dog and that coffee plus Lucci’s Walnut Divinity cookies are an energy-boosting powerhouse!

The Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon began last Saturday at 8am EST and continued for 24 hours. My start time in California was 5am. As a second-shifter type, admittedly, that was just not going to happen. So I decided to make my time 8am to 8am. Slightly, but not by much, more civilized 🙂

Little Women was my first book. It just enraptured me and I probably could have read it all day if the print wasn’t so small. Because I have seen film versions (Katharine Hepburn is the better Jo, imo), I thought I knew the story, but as usual when a book becomes a movie so much is left out. I can’t wait to get back to it.

Then started the mishaps. Not serious though and quickly remedied. The day before the Readathon I was happy to find LM Montgomery’s, The Story Girl and JK Rowlings, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone at my favorite used bookstore. However, when I opened the cover, I discovered the Montgomery book was a short children’s adaptation and the Harry Potter book reeked with fragrance.  Thanks to my Kindle, I was able to download the unabridged edition of Montgomery’s book, but I had to put the Rowling book outside. I have a frustrating case of chemical sensitivity thaIMG_3755t turns into head and throat pain with just a few whiffs of perfume, cologne, cleaning products, and so on. Poor Harry and the gang are still on the patio airing out. So I just carried on with my Kindle for the rest of the night.

But the wonderful feeling that I allowed myself to read undisturbed for so many hours, without guilt or feeling like, “I should be doing something productive,” has made a big impact. I think I am going to do this for a day once in a while. The calming, relaxing feeling of having just been to a spa or meditated or doing something that took my mind off my troubles lingered into Monday and now I find just a thought of it has the same effect. Its value cannot be measured.

So, yes, October 22nd (because it is bi-yearly) can’t get here soon enough!