I’m in the midst of creating a mixed media drawing for the local gallery’s summer show. Their theme is the story Anne of Green Gables.
The entire gallery, upstairs and down, will be filled with mannequins and miniatures by artist and costumer Korene Kidd of Prince George, BC. The walls will be hung with artwork by local artists.
I read Anne of Green Gables four times, probably more, as a child and teenager. Anne was my kind of hero. She had red hair which I longed for. Funny, that I had the raven hair she wished was hers. I grew my hair long just so I could have braids and pretend they were red.
Although I didn’t get into Anne’s kind of scrapes, I did have the same imagination, loud and busy. Beauty would stop me in my tracks, literally, as it did her. Cherry blossoms against a blue blue sky. A thrush deep in its morning song. The stream that moved through the dark of the trees beyond our house. Wonder and joy.
I’ve been reading bits of Anne’s story as I make my drawing. I’ve discovered something.
When I read Anne years ago, I focused on the actions and thoughts of the characters.
When I read Anne now, I am pulled in by the emotions expressed in the story and mine arising in response.
Anne lives her life wide open to the world. Her heart feels joy and sorrow, love and pain in ferocious, instant, equal measure.
As a child I read the words but did not understand. I was cautious with my heart. I kept my feelings private. There were emotions I didn’t know what to do with. They were either too huge or too terrifying to set free. Love. Joy. Anger. Grief.
I am no longer that child. My heart lies open to my life, as Anne’s does in her story.
I learned to be open. I began with feeling love and joy, and now I also know what to do with anger and grief. Emotions no longer mystify me. Well, most of the time.
This, I am sure, is why I am reading Anne in a different way. I am reading with an open heart.
It’s the same story, same words. It is me that is different.
Anne was written with an open heart. I get to feel that now with every word I read. What perfect joy to have discovered this piece of Anne’s story that had previously passed me by. A gift.
My Anne drawing is titled ‘What Gives Me Joy (Anne of Green Gables)’. It holds a list of joy that begins with ‘blazing red hair’.
My drawing ends with what I’ve learned from Anne, what has nestled in my heart.
Notice beauty. Notice joy. Cradle anger and grief, for they too need to be loved. Find people and places and things to love in your life.
Thank you Anne and Marilla and Matthew and all. Thank you Lucy Maud Montgomery, for letting Anne into your imagination and out to the world.
In this post
L. M. Montgomery, 1874 – 1942. Book Anne of Green Gables, Running Press, 1993. ‘I wrote it for love…’ page 286. http://www.lmmontgomery.ca/
The Station House Gallery, Williams Lake, BC. https://www.facebook.com/stationhousegallery/