chestnut book blog

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As far as we dare…

I’m having a lovely time re-reading the Anne of Green Gables series at the moment (I’m still craving a bit of comfort reading and I’m afraid my copies of The Goldfinch and The Luminaries are as yet untouched on my bedside table). I’ve got to Anne of Windy Willows (Anne of Windy Poplars in North America) and along the way, many little tit-bits and sayings in the series have made an impression. It is a peculiar joy, returning to childhood favourites as an adult, after they’ve been pushed to the back of the shelf for many years. I was fearful that it wouldn’t be as I remembered it and that I would spoil wonderful memories by returning to it. I am happy to say though that it is every bit as joyful, sweet and profound as I recalled.

The phrase that has currently grabbed my imagination is from Anne of Windy Poplars. Anne and little Elizabeth are going for a walk twice a week, to give Elizabeth the release she needs from an oppressive home. Each time, they walk along the road that leads to Tomorrow ‘as far as they dare’. Tomorrow is the place where little Elizabeth believes good things wait for her. Isn’t that hopeful and wonderful? It struck me that in life, ‘daring’ and ‘as far as we dare’ are quite important concepts. The instinct to only go so far protects us from danger, prolongs the pleasure of anticipation and protects us from the fact that, in Tomorrow, things may not be quite as they are hoped to be. However, by only going ‘as far as we dare’, we also hold ourselves back and perhaps, because of that, we never find out that Tomorrow could be just as wonderful as we imagined.

I very much hope that little Elizabeth gets her Tomorrow eventually (I think she might do if my memory serves me correctly!) and that we all do. Have you got any childhood favourites that you returned to as an adult and loved just as much? Or any that disappointed you?

p.s post on my recent trip to Switzerland coming shortly.