that after me there should never again be birds in cages.
~Isak Dinesen (aka Karen Blixen)
Danish author (1885 - 1962)
How can you be sure it has a soul? she said.
You can't, I said, unless you've got one yourself.
~Brian Andreas, StoryPeople
Like St. Francis of Assisi and Beatrix Potter, Opal Whiteley was devoted to animals. All of her pets were grandly named: Elizabeth Barrett Browning was the cow; Peter Paul Rubens was the pig. Opal wrote in her diary:
So many little people live in the woods.
I do have conversations with them.
When the cornflowers
grow in the fields
I do pick them up,
and make a chain of flowers
for Shakespeare's neck.
Then I do talk to him
about the one he was named for.
He is such a beautiful grey horse
and his ways are ways of gentleness.
Too, he does have likings
like the likings I have
for the blue hills beyond the fields.
Today there was greyness everywhere--
grey clouds in the sky
and grey shadows
above the canyon.
And all the voices were grey
And Felix Mendelssohn* was grey
and down the road I did meet a grey horse--
and his greyness was like the greyness
of William Shakespeare.
[*Mendelssohn was her pet mouse;
another mouse was named Mozart]
Euripedes [pet lamb]
did follow after me.
He does follow me
manywheres I go.
I looked for fleurs
that I had longs to see.
I lay my ear close to the ground
where the grasses grew close together.
I did listen.
There were voices from out the earth
and the things of their saying
were the gladness of growing. . . .
All the grasses growing there . . .
from the tips of their green arms
to their toe roots in the ground.
from her childhood diary
(pp 4, 20, 59, 116,)
SEE LATEST FORTNIGHTLY POST:
"OPAL: IN LOVE WITH THE WORLD"
ON MY LITERARY BLOG OF CONNECTION & COINCIDENCE
THE FORTNIGHTLY KITTI CARRIKER
AND NEW POST:
"ABOUT OPAL WHITELEY"
ON MY BOOK BLOG
KITTI'S BOOK LIST