Friday, December 15, 2006
Watership Down: LIFE IS NOW
Albrecht Durer. A Young Hare. 1502. Watercolour and gouache on paper. Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna, Austria.
Watership Down is proving to be a delightful read. I am so glad that I chose to make this a read- aloud book rather than assigning it to my two Junior High students to read on their own. They would have devoured it quickly and we would have missed many rich discussions.
It is the story of a journey, of immigration and new beginnings. The pilgrims in this story happen to be rabbits. The book is too long and complex to be called a fable; I would categorize it as an epic. There are many morals and lessons to be learned along the way.
There is humor, too. We have sometimes chuckled as certain incidents in the story have evoked our memory of Brer Rabbit.
But the book has also prompted more serious discussions centered on social welfare, the role of leaders and prophets, and stewardship.
Here is a little taste of the book, taken from chapter 22. I found it good food for thought:
"Rabbits (says Mr. Lockley) are like human beings in many ways. One of these is certainly their staunch ability to withstand disaster and to let the stream of their life carry them along, past reaches of terror and loss. They have a certain quality which it would not be accurate to describe as callousness or indifference. It is, rather, a blessedly circumscribed imagination and an intuitive feeling that Life is Now."
Scripture expresses this same idea so eloquently : "....one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead." Phillipians 3:13
Life is Now. At the close of the year, I take inventory of my life. For me, this has been a year of tears, but God has saved them all in a bottle :
"Thou hast taken account of my wandering;
Put my tears in Thy bottle;
Are they not in Thy book?"
Good literature always helps me put things in perspective. The perspective gained from Watership Down is so simple, yet so profound. LIFE IS NOW.