Learning from The Magic Faraway Tree
March 5th is celebrated as being World Book Day, and I for one, really enjoy this day. It’s widely reported that introverts love reading, and for many of us life is more like our own ‘Book Month’ or even ‘Book Year’.
I love reading and in fact, am known for my practice of Tsundoku: The buying of more books than I can read. It’s the Japanese concept of piling up books to save for later, even though you may never actually get around to reading them. I wonder if that also applies to you.
As I mentioned in one of my podcasts, my bookshelves in my office are laden with books; some read, some dipped into and some never opened. I have often found myself wandering around a bookshop and being drawn to a particular title or a cover even. I’m rarely in any particular hurry to rush home and start reading. But some months, or in some cases years later, someone will mention a book and I’m able to say “Oh, I have that on my shelf already. I wondered why I needed to buy that book; now I know.”. So, my Tsundoku has served me well.
I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember. I used to take myself up to bed early each night as a child, so that I could spend a quiet hour lost in my books. When I was young, Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree was one of my favourites. If you’ve not heard of this book, it’s about a gigantic tree in an enchanted wood that is inhabited by some extraordinary characters including Saucepan Man. Moon-Face and Silky. What makes this tree particularly magical is that different lands visit the top of the tree, heralded by a certain wind; the winds of change. The inhabitants of the tree can climb the ladder to visit these passing lands, all of which have particular messages and lessons as you might imagine. Being an Enid Blyton tale, a group of local children, are well known to the inhabitants of the tree and visit it and decide to visit it again, this time with their cousin, Dick.
So what was it that had me captivated by this particular book? Was it that one of that characters was call Jo, and although he was a boy, was there enough of a point of similarity? Was it that I was entranced by the pixie Silky? Even her name sounded beautiful to me. Was it that we had a huge tree in a copse in the field behind our house? Was it the gentle storytelling, the descriptive language and thrill of the ‘lessons’? I don’t really know the answers to any of these and that’s not really my point here.
My point is that books enable people to engage their own imagination, involved in a movie of their own creation unconstrained by the images of another and uninterrupted by the busyness of life.
Not surprisingly perhaps, there are aspects of this book that have stuck with me. As I have aged, I have become attuned to the winds of change, noticing when something needs to change and is changing. I have also got much better at picking up the learning and messages from changes I’m involved in, even the challenging ones.
Its been too long since I’ve read purely for pleasure so I’m looking at my shelves (and increasingly on my e-reader) to select the right book for me to read for fun.
So, this World Book Day, which book will you lose yourself in?
Let us know over on the Flourishing Introverts’ Page