I must confess that I do not like to lend books, especially my hardcover books. I will sometimes lend paper back copies. As everyone knows, to lend a book is to prepare to say “Goodbye” forever to that “dear old friend.”
And I need a lot of “dear old friends” because I enjoy reading and writing on a wide variety of topics. I want all my “dear old friends” to be within arms’ length.
Some books are so dear that they will never leave my library:
Cross Creek, by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, is one of these.
I told my grandson this week that, if you have books, you will always have a friend and you will never be lonely. Later, I thought to myself that, beyond friendship, certain books are portals into “places of enchantment:” Cross Creek is a fine example.
Enchantment, chant, cantor, canticle, chanticleer: some of my favorite words! Each of these words share a Latin root word: “cantere,” which means to “to sing.” Enchant means “to chant [sing] a spell over” or “to delight to a high degree,” or “to impart a magical quality or effect.”
I have previously written about Places of Enchantment. Click the link and you can read about how one lyrical book forged a special relationship between my father and me.
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
In 1996, my son, Garrett, surprised me with the gift of a hardback copy of the 1942 Edition.
Ten years later, in 2006, I gave my father a paper back copy of the book.
And the rest, as they say, “is history” or, in our case, it became “family history.”
The illustrations [“decorations”] by Edward Shenton, perfectly capture the enchanted quality of Cross Creek, Florida — the setting for the book:
In case you did not read the link above, here are some quotes from the book. I hope they capture your imagination and entice you to read this delightful book about an enchanting place.
“I do not understand how anyone can live without some small place of enchantment to turn to.”
“ . . . If there be such a thing as [collective or instinctual] memory, the consciousness of land and water must lie deeper in the core of us than any knowledge of our fellow beings. We were bred of earth before we were born of our mothers. Once born, we can live without mother or father, or any other kin, or any friend, or any human love. We cannot live without the earth or apart from it, and something is shriveled in a man’s heart when he turns away from it and concerns himself only with the affairs of men.”
“ . . . It seems to me that the earth may be borrowed but not bought. It may be used but not owned. It gives itself in response to love and tending, offers its seasonal flowering and fruiting. But we are tenants and not possessors, lovers and not masters. Cross Creek belongs to the wind and the rain, to the sun, and the seasons, to the cosmic secrecy of seed, and beyond all, to time.”
~~~All quotes are from Cross Creek, the memoirs of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, 1942, Scribner’s