I live in Colorado.
And it is January.
January in Colorado means temperatures that drop below zero, fields that are dry and brown, and (this year, at least) very little snow. The only color in our dull landscape comes from the pine trees, the mountains, and the sky.
The sky in Colorado is spectacular. You want beauty? Go look at a Colorado sky at midnight. You can see every star in the heavens.
But, despite our amazing skies, the grass is still dry and brown and the fields and roads are still dust. I love everything lush and green, and in the wintertime, I have to remind myself that grass does grow green, trees do grow leaves, and flowers do bloom.
One of my favorite ways to do that is to read The Wind in the Willows.
This beautiful book begins just as everything in the world is waking up, when trees are budding, birds are returning from their winter homes, the sun is shining, and the fields are, once again, green. In fact, it is Spring Cleaning time, and the Mole is hard at work, whitewashing his walls and cleaning his little burrow.
But spring is calling to him, and he can’t stay underground forever. He forsakes his little tunnel in favor of the chatter and excitement of the River, a place he’s never seen in all his sheltered life, and one that he falls in love with at once.
I fell in love with this beautiful book just as quickly. The gorgeous descriptions and setting, the quirky and lovable characters, and the charmingly simple storyline continue to make this one of my favorite reads. I have rolled my eyes over the antics and foolishness of Toad, enjoyed the deep burrows and passages of the solitary Badger, understood the passion of the Rat for his riverside home, and enjoyed the company of a myriad of waterfront creatures who live and thrive in such beautiful surroundings. This book is a particular joy to read aloud, and the fascinating and—at times—thrilling adventures will interest readers of any age. As quiet and peaceful as the River is, adventure never fails to find its inhabitants, especially with Toad thrown into the mix. Prison breaks and motor car chases, pitched battles with stoats and a stolen home all disrupt the peace of the River, but in the end, the River flows on, and life continues.
It never fails to remind me that no matter how dull and brown life can get, spring will always come again.
The Mole was bewitched, entranced, fascinated. By the side of the river he trotted as one trots, when very small, by the side of a man who holds one spellbound by exciting stories.