"I am from an English cup of tea and quiet books
from the closeness of my mother's reading;
a place to look for me."~Tab
Can you feel it? Who taught you?
On evenings when my father pursued his business, courted the telephone and wooed his clients, my mother drank English breakfast tea and then introduced me to a universe full of magic.
Waking to morning rain on our tin roof.
The cup cake tin full of rainbow bites of frosted color.
Butter melting into warm, puffy bread, my little sister's hand in mine, the sound of Saturday's lawns being mowed, sepia afternoons filled with the smell of popcorn...
What intelligence does a child need to see such things? Yet at first I saw none of them.
My teachers on the art of Magic Seeing were my mother and the words. Words in songs as she rocked me. And then words as she spoke from the pages of books. Living words. Words where the magic became the air I breathed.
In the crook of my mother's arm I was introduced to the feeling of stillness, a rare commodity in our house, and the texture of world's inside the pages of books. The closeness of my mother's reading helped my dim eyes grow bright and alert. In those moments her voice was gentle water lapping at my toes. Zigzag thinking inside me slowed. The back pack of constant shame and guilt slipped from my shoulders, and I rested.
In that quietness I met the folk of the Far Away Tree. Silky. Saucepan man. Goblins. And lands that came and went as they pleased. Later I met Anne and George and her dog Timmy. I padded beside Lassie on her quest for home. My quest also. I ran my fingers through the mane of the great Aslan. In the shadows of the whispering trees of Narnia I was allowed to be a child.
Magic Seeing had everything to do with learning from inside myself; looking within and then outwards. Words became images. And within the images were feelings that built to understanding, empathy and insights. Books were play and a door to childhood. And there were few such doors outside of the world of words.
To this day my mother thinks she failed me. But on those quiet nights, the lilt of her reading rocked me gently through a stony childhood. Characters lived through her voice. She was no longer hidden from me by the abuse of her marriage and I was freed to look for myself for just a little while. The seeds of my adult self, the magic I still see in words, the gift of life inside me, were all sown beside my mother. If she failed me, it was not in the reading. It was not in the gift of words.
And it was not in the Magic Seeing.
What about you?Who first opened up the world of reading to you?