I’m not the first one to think this, but let’s pretend, just for the day, that I am the first person to decide that Milne’s World of Pooh is an ode to friendship. I’d like to add though…that it is also all about cherishing quiet, and imagination. Is this not what the world sorely lacks in many of our eyes?
And, the lack of patience in every corner of the kingdom?
“I didn’t want my picture taken because I was going to cry. I didn’t know why I was going to cry, but I knew that if anybody spoke to me or looked at me too closely the tears would fly out of my eyes and the sobs would fly out of my throat and I’d cry for a week. I could feel the tears brimming and sloshing in me like water in a glass that is unsteady and too full.”
― Sylvia Plath (from Good Reads)
A quick read of some pages of The World of Pooh is helping me process how I feel about reconnecting with some of my best friends of my college years. I can’t decide which Milne character would have been who at the time.
Right now, with no question, I am Eeyore and am quite fine with remaining in that role forever more. If you don’t love and appreciate Eeyore…I ask you to turn your head and go play else where. This kind friend is the Abe Lincoln of the kindly woods of Pooh.
I am no Abe. or Molly Lincoln, but I do continue to plod along. With the gift of modern interventions, I am gratefully stocked with a lighter set of brain games and my load has lightened indeed.
The chapter I just reread is titled:
IN WHICH A house Is Built at Pooh Corner for Eeyore
On this “one day,” Pooh is wandering around as usual looking for someone to hang out with for a bit. Sound like college and young adulthood yet? Yuppers.
So he checked on his fiesty little pal Piglet, “…and the more he looked inside the more Piglet wasn’t there.’ “
Sound like waning connections to old friends because of the busyness of work, family life and “real adulthood?” Yes sirree Bob.
” ‘He’s out,’ said Pooh sadly.”
“That’s what it is. He’s not in.
I shall have to go a fast
by myself. Bother!”
My oldest son John, at three against the world.
That’s what two of my college roommates and I miss the most. I don’t even need to text, Facebook, snail mail or tweet to them to inquire: we miss going for walks together to our playground. The pace and stress of college often made no sense to any of the three of us. Nor does the current world of noise and rush make what should be very common sense amidst the buzz that we are plodding through that many years later.
Sadly, the cost of travel and the commodity of time stands in the way of “in real life” connection. Not so sadly, we manage quite well to keep in touch. Never enough, but we try. Not so much in person, yet the genius of the invention of virtual connection provides some fun in between gaps of “real” exchanges of voice and better thought out exchanges such as email or instant messages.
Now: Back to Pooh, Piglet and Eeyore.
In this part of the story, Pooh’s social dilemma increases as he decides to cheer Eeyore with a song and invites Piglet. Piglet is impatient as Pooh drags him through a windstorm to find Eeyore:
‘Pooh,’ he said at last, and a little timidly,
because he didn’t want Pooh to think he was Giving In,
‘I was just wondering.
How would it be if we went home now and
practiced your song,
and then sang it to Eeyore tomorrow -or-or the next day, when we happen to see him.”
No go. Pooh dragged that poor pig through snow and sleet singing “Tiddley-Pom” the whole way through.
Meanwhile Christopher Robin is trying to talk some sense into Eeyore who won’t leave his “gloomy place” of no cover from the snow storm.
Eeyore justifies to his human friend:
” ‘I don’t know how it is, Christopher Robin,
but with all this snow and one thing and another,
not to mention icicles and such-like,
it isn’t so Hot in my field…In fact Christopher Robin,’
he went on in a loud whisper,
Now. Here comes that attitude and thought process that I’ve yet to give up, which on one or two occasions, has driven my family to hysterics:
” ‘And I said to myself:
The others will be sorry if I’m getting myself all cold.
They haven’t got Brains, any of them,
only grey fluff
that’s blown into their heads by mistake,
and they don’t
And on Eeyore discerns and plods about, in a snow storm, thinking about the snow on top of his very back. Meanwhile, not one, not two, but three friends are milling about the woods trying to resolve his gloom by rebuilding his house and trying to lead him to a more comfortable place.
Pope Francis should be proud indeed of the humble scene in which Eeyore returns to the house that he thinks he built:
” ‘ There you are,’ said Piglet.
‘Inside as well as outside,’ said Pooh Proudly.
‘It’s a remarkable thing,’ he said.
‘It is my house, and I built it where I said I did, so the wind must have blown it here.
And the wind blew it right over the wood,
and blew it down here,
and here is as good as ever.
In fact, better in places.’
‘Much better,’ said Pooh and Piglet together.
‘It just shows what can be done by taking a little trouble,’ said Eeyore.
‘Do you see Pooh? Do you see Piglet?
Brains first and then Hard Work.
Look at it!
That’s the way to build a house,’
I was thankful for my college friends then, but I am more so now. Communication gaps or no, they mean a lot to me.