The unfurling of tiny green leaves and sweet blossoming flowers had me longing to write about personal growth ~ that natural urge to enrich and improve ourselves and our lives.
I’d returned to my hometown the past few weeks to care for my mother while she had a series of minor surgeries. She was recovering well and was up and about after breakfast. “I think I’ll go to the library and try to write for a little while,” I told her.
Except for the Internet, the C.E. Brehm Memorial Public Library hadn’t changed much since I went there as a child. I intended to walk up the staircase to the second floor where I studied as a teenager, but I got lost in a memory of holding tightly to the oak banister wearing a red plaid dress and pigtails. I ran my hand over the railing, worn smooth from use, and realized it had pulled me all the way up to the third floor where the children’s section used to be and still is.
I asked the librarian if I could sit at a small table and do some work and positioned myself near a window, hoping to be inspired by an elm tree bursting with new buds. There I sat in a quaint wooden chair, ignoring my laptop but absorbing every sight and smell of the familiar room.
I rose dreamlike and slowly ran my hand along a bookshelf, lightly touching the spines of Sounder, James and the Giant Peach, The Secret Garden, The Chronicles of Narnia and other childhood stories that still touch my heart.
For nearly an hour I tried to focus on writing, but my thoughts kept turning to a little girl I once knew who sat cross-legged in the corner happily reading Little House in the Big Woods. I shook her out of my mind and read the quote I had jotted down by Mr. Twain.
“What is the most rigorous law of our being? Growth. No smallest atom of our moral, mental, or physical structure can stand still a year. It grows ~ it must grow smaller or larger, better or worse ~ it cannot stand still. In other words, we change, and must change, constantly, and keep on changing as long as we live.”
Springtime helps us understand what Twain was talking about. The sudden appearance of leaves, grass, and blooms are obvious reminders of the miracle and beauty of growth. The transformation that comes each spring is easier for us to appreciate than the much slower moral, mental, and physical growth to which Twain refers.
One day you’re a child sitting in a little chair reading a library book, and five decades later you’re sitting in the same little chair trying to write something meaningful ~ something that will encourage us to keep growing in mind, body, and soul like flowers in springtime. §