Monday, January 19, 2009

"Little House in the Big Woods"

Just reread "Little House in the Big Woods." Last time I read it I was ?12? maybe. After a slew of trashy vampire romance/comedies, I knew I needed something more traditional, and boy was it.

The first few chapters are all about cooking and preparing foods, and for anyone who likes to cook, it is a good read. To hear Laura describe what life was like, the work, the play, the stories her Pa would tell, the discipline, their simple but loving Christmas, hunting in the woods, going to town for the first time, seeing pebbles on the beach, it's all beutifully simple.

What surprised me towards the end of the book is the ecotheology that emerges. The family lives off the land, hunting and trapping and planting, and killing animals is part of life, and Laura loves eating bear and deer and hog, but also worries about does and their babies. The family doesn't eat meat in the spring or summer, allowing the animals to grow and live.

In the last chapter, Pa goes out to hunt, but comes across a magnificent buck that he just can't kill. Knowing he has a family at home that would like some meat, he promises to shoot next time. But a bear comes along, and looks so magnificent in the moonlight Pa forgets all about his gun, then a doe and her fawn come and Pa does not shoot them either, of which Laura is thankful. This book so perfectly balances the cycle of life and the need for all God's creatures to survive and live together, and although Pa hunts and Laura loves to eat the meat, they have a respect and admiration for the creatures they depend on.

Then, at the very end of the book, the author does something unexpected: she almost ventures into quantum physics in regards to time. Pa plays "Auld Lang Syne" and Laura asks what that means. "They are the days of long ago" he responds, "Go to sleep, now."

But Laura stays awake. She listens to Pa's fiddle, the sound of the wind in the Big Woods, she looks at M in her chair, knitting, the firelight glistening in Pa's beard and thinks to herself "This is now."

Then it continues "She was glad that the cozy house, and Pa and Ma and the firelight and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago."


No comments: