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It is such a secret place …. the land of tears

At seventeen, in keeping I imagine, with most seventeens I could not wait to be eighteen and proclaim myself adult.  Adult enough to do all the things thus far forbidden even if I was really too timid or scared or plain perplexed to really want to try them.   Nothing would be out of my reach, I would emerge from ugly duck-dom as the rightful swan and I would, clearly discover all the things that the adults before me had failed to find.  I would invent love and sex and I would invent drinking and I would travel to far flung exotic places and I would absorb by osmosis more wisdom than any adult before me – dullards all – could ever hope to.  At seventeen.

At seventeen I bought a book which seemed to wink at me even though it’s cover was pummelled and punished, tired and tawdry in the second-hand shop I favoured in our local town.  Favoured because I was not yet allowed to go out and make my fortune and my mark on the adult world and therefore I did not have a purse distended with high-value notes.  Of course that was bound to change when this mythic majority was attained.  At seventeen.  The book was ‘The Little Prince’, Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s charming, touching and poignant allegory of a small prince who leaves his own tiny planet and travels the universe, odyssey-style experiencing all the whims and foolhardiness of adult behaviour and eventually encounters the narrator who has crash-landed his plane in the desert and whose life will be forever altered by their sojourn together.  I am sure that the fact that I read it first at seventeen cemented my love affair with this book all the more thoroughly.

These days I keep two copies at home, wherever my home at that moment is.  One in English, the other in French.  If you stay in my home wherever that home is at that moment, you will find a copy of the book by your bed (in the language I think you would prefer).  There is no instruction nor implied obligation that you should read it and I expect, in reality, most of those staying in my home wherever that home is at that moment, tactfully leave it where it lies putting it, I hope affectionately, down to  well-meant eccentricity.  

These last few days I have found  myself more wistful than usual and I simply couldn’t put my finger on why.  Then yesterday my youngest daughter sent me a film clip of her birthday party.  Surrounded by her closest friends she is opening their joint present to her.  The delight, the laughter, the tears of piquant joy keenly tangible.  I felt an aching sadness  watching because I was not there.  As neither should I have been.  My daughter was born in 1995 which even for one as mathmatically disabled as I, means she was twenty two this birthday.  She had previously reported to me that this implies that she has no choice but to be a genuine adult going forwards.  She has run out of excuses.  She is no longer eighteen nor twenty-one.  And she is not seventeen.  I realised watching this little video that my melancholy is born of something quite simple.  Thirty years of being mummy to my child-children is now formally over.  They have all crossed quietly over to that place I longed for at seventeen.  And I shall mourn their passing softly whilst delighting in the  young women they have become.  The adults inventing love and sex and drinking and real wisdom that old dullards like me surely never knew.

But I hope they never lose the child that lurks inside them.   The child I cared for and nurtured and protected.  The child that believed in fairies at the bottom of the garden, the child that positively hurt with excitement on Christmas Eve, the child who saw things through naïve eyes that prompt the profoundest wisdom of their lives.  The precious child within.  The essence of our adult self, if only we remember to protect it with all our might and never let it go.

I have reflected and now I can move forwards.  And I offer this to the arcade of entries in this week’s Photo Challenge titled ‘Reflecting’ of which you can feast upon the entire beauteous banquet here

The photograph of The Old North Bridge in Concord MA was taken by my daughter when staying with us last summer.  That she captured it and that it presents a perfectly reflecting image in tandem with the recent crossing of her own bridge to fully fledged adult, whatever that implies, made it, in my mind, rather appropriate.

DSCF8079

PS:  The title of this piece, is of course, a quote from the book.  In context, it concerns the little boy trying to understand why, if thorns can’t protect a flower from a marauding sheep, why the rose would bother to grow them.  The narrator, preoccupied with ‘matters of consquence’ fobs him off with the instant and unconsidered answer that flowers grow them out of spite.  The tyrade this illicits from the far wiser mind of the child goes thus:

“I don’t believe you! Flowers are weak creatures. They are naïve. They reassure themselves as best they can. They believe that their thorns are terrible weapons . . .”

I did not answer. At that instant I was saying to myself: “If this bolt still won’t turn, I am going to knock it out with the hammer.” Again the little prince disturbed my thoughts:

“And you actually believe that the flowers–“

“Oh, no!” I cried. “No, no, no! I don’t believe anything. I answered you with the first thing that came into my head. Don’t you see–I am very busy with matters of consequence!”

He stared at me, thunderstruck.

“Matters of consequence!”

He looked at me there, with my hammer in my hand, my fingers black with engine-grease, bending down over an object which seemed to him extremely ugly . . .

“You talk just like the grown-ups!”

That made me a little ashamed. But he went on, relentlessly:

“You mix everything up together . . . You confuse everything . . .”

He was really very angry. He tossed his golden curls in the breeze.

“I know a planet where there is a certain red-faced gentleman. He has never smelled a flower. He has never looked at a star. He has never loved any one. He has never done anything in his life but add up figures. And all day he says over and over, just like you: ‘I am busy with matters of consequence!’ And that makes him swell up with pride. But he is not a man–he is a mushroom!”

“A what?”

“A mushroom!”

The little prince was now white with rage.

“The flowers have been growing thorns for millions of years. For millions of years the sheep have been eating them just the same. And is it not a matter of consequence to try to understand why the flowers go to so much trouble to grow thorns which are never of any use to them? Is the warfare between the sheep and the flowers not important? Is this not of more consequence than a fat red-faced gentleman’s sums? And if I know–I, myself–one flower which is unique in the world, which grows nowhere but on my planet, but which one little sheep can destroy in a single bite some morning, without even noticing what he is doing–Oh! You think that is not important!”

His face turned from white to red as he continued:

“If some one loves a flower, of which just one single blossom grows in all the millions and millions of stars, it is enough to make him happy just to look at the stars. He can say to himself, ‘Somewhere, my flower is there . . .’ But if the sheep eats the flower, in one moment all his stars will be darkened . . . And you think that is not important!”

He could not say anything more. His words were choked by sobbing.

The night had fallen. I had let my tools drop from my hands. Of what moment now was my hammer, my bolt, or thirst, or death? On one star, one planet, my planet, the Earth, there was a little prince to be comforted. I took him in my arms, and rocked him. I said to him:

“The flower that you love is not in danger. I will draw you a muzzle for your sheep. I will draw you a railing to put around your flower. I will–” 

I did not know what to say to him. I felt awkward and blundering. I did not know how I could reach him, where I could overtake him and go on hand in hand with him once more.

It is such a secret place …. the land of tears

I always cry my own tears when I read that passage because it permeates to the heart of my own protected child-self nestling deep inside.

Your bonus because her wonderful song, which in truth, apart from the height, WAS me at that precise age, has  been shamelessly ransacked in the text of this piece, your bonus therefore is Janis Ian:

152 Comments Post a comment
  1. Wonderful. Thank you for this Janis video.

    Liked by 2 people

    May 11, 2017
    • My pleasure … I’m glad you enjoyed the piece 😊

      Like

      May 11, 2017
      • I’m blown away she was seventeen writing and singing that song.

        Like

        May 11, 2017
      • It’s a keeper of a song …. so absolutely point perfect!

        Liked by 1 person

        May 11, 2017
  2. I was already feeling down before I read this. Now I feel worse. Growing up is a terrible thing. Growing is fine for flowers, but not for us. I hope your daughters grow up as sensitive and reflective as their mother.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 11, 2017
    • Oh good grief …. I am SO sorry! Let’s just agree not to wholly grow up … I’ve succeeded thus far! As for my daughters …. I am not sure they are adult enough yet to think that being in the slightest bit like me is a good thing 😉

      Like

      May 11, 2017
      • It’s just tiredness. Lack of sleep and general pissed-offness. We’re selling the house and have a constant stream of connards traipsing through it, and I don’t just mean estate agents. In addition, the bongos have just started at the end of the street which always sets my teeth on edge.

        Liked by 1 person

        May 11, 2017
      • Selling houses is very very high on the stress Richter scale so entirely understandable. Bongos may be up there too!

        Like

        May 11, 2017
      • My favourite exchange so far:
        Time-waster: “The garden is so damp!”
        Estate agent: “It’s just poured with rain.”

        Liked by 2 people

        May 11, 2017
      • It certainly brings out the inner eejit in many!

        Like

        May 11, 2017
      • It brings out the serial killer in me.

        Liked by 1 person

        May 11, 2017
      • Understandable. Entirely understandable.

        Like

        May 11, 2017
      • Watch the headlines…

        Liked by 1 person

        May 11, 2017
      • Will make a welcome change from politics 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        May 11, 2017
  3. Those ‘naive eyes that prompted the profoundest wisdom of their lives’ were also mine, at seventeen, and still, I hope, today. ‘Le Petit Prince’ was the first book I ever read all the way through in French, and Janis Ian still resounds in my mind when I think of the pain, the angst and the incredible beauty of being alive on the cusp of adulthood. Thank you, dear Osyth, for the memories! x

    Liked by 2 people

    May 11, 2017
    • They are the sweetest of memories and ones I will never let go of while I have a useable brain in my head! X

      Liked by 1 person

      May 11, 2017
  4. I just love your writing style. What a beautiful post. I know just how you feel.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 11, 2017
    • Thank you Nadia … I am touched by your comment and I send warm wishes to one who understands 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

      May 11, 2017
  5. Beautifully written, Osyth and the song just ties it all together. Very well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    May 11, 2017
    • Thank you George, for your thoughtful comment … it means rather a lot 😊

      Like

      May 11, 2017
  6. You so eloquently take us back to that time and around to the present. Happy birthday to your daughter.
    I also read “Le Petit Prince” at 17, in my French class. I was the chouchou du prof, who gave me a copy at the end of the year. Despite a string of heartbreaks by my repeatedly bad choices of boyfriends then, I loved high school–the classes, my friends, the activities, my first job (data entry operator at a bank, typing in people’s credit card charges–it used to be done by hand!). It was just enough responsibility and freedom to feel adult while still having the structure of family and school for security.

    Liked by 2 people

    May 11, 2017
    • Thank you. And you in turn take me to a place that is so essentially 17 – the heartaches, the little morsels of responsibility and the security of family and school. ‘Le Petit Prince’ should be read by all, in my opinion. It happens that the perfect time is perhaps at 17 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      May 11, 2017
  7. Ooo so beautifully written. I love this reflection of yours. The whole post kept me mesmerized. Naturally I’ll have to check out the book, that I actually never heard of.

    I’ve taken a couple months off the blogging train, to reevaluate, and find my way back to the source of my passion. I deleted my old blog, that doesn’t represent me anymore. My new blog is more out of the box, raw, and honest. I’m writing under a pseudonym, but you’ll know who I am my friend.

    Liked by 2 people

    May 11, 2017
    • Welcome back. And of course I will follow you though you don’t ask … because I can and because I want to. I am delighted that you enjoyed this post and I look forward to the reawakening of you in this new guise. Namaste.

      Liked by 1 person

      May 11, 2017
  8. Beautiful post and I am fascinated by this Little Prince. Strangely, I heard ’17’ at a restaurant the other day and I remarked to Baz how poignant it had been for me as a young girl at the time. I recounted all the lyrics while he didn’t know it at all. I guess it just really spoke to us girls x

    Liked by 2 people

    May 11, 2017
    • Ha! I can imagine Baz being a little bewildered. ‘Inventing lovers on the phone’ and the vague obscenities they whisper probably speaks louder to girls than boys! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Very glad. x

      Liked by 1 person

      May 11, 2017
  9. It is bittersweet, isn’t it, watching them stretch and finally snap that cord. I also have two copies of His Little Highness, one in English, a gift from a beau, and one I brought home from my au-pairing adventures many moons ago. I have a post-it stuck above my head, I kid you not, which says ‘check out Night Flight by A de St.Ex.’ Do you know it? I read a recommendation somewhere this week. Life’s odd that way. Tears all dried up now (though my eyes still sting.)

    Liked by 2 people

    May 11, 2017
    • It is bittersweet. So bittersweet and the fact is that we will never let them know how it feels for that would be so entirely wrong a thing to do. I am filled with delight that you have two copies of the book (though entirely unsurprised) but the thing that stands out like a pike-staff is this post-it – I am mazed as mazed can be and I am making my own note in my rather brash bright-pink (gift from small girl of friend) immediately that I, too must check out Night Flight by A de St. Ex because I do NOT know it and this must clearly be rectified. Glad your eyes are dry (not glad they sting)

      Liked by 2 people

      May 11, 2017
  10. I’ve not heard that song in a long time. The Little Prince is a wonderful story. Cheers

    Liked by 2 people

    May 11, 2017
    • Thank you Chris …. the song was a girls best friend once upon a 17 and the book remains my best friend 😊

      Liked by 2 people

      May 11, 2017
  11. Ali #

    Wonderful post. I love that book. We read it for our book club. Most of us had read it before and the conversation was wonderful. We always read one children’s book each year. I’m not sure if this treasure of a book should be called that though.

    Ali

    Liked by 2 people

    May 11, 2017
    • Ali, thank you for that lovely comment. I really like the idea that your book club reads one children’s book per year and I imagine the conversation was amazing – there is so much in it to latch onto and recognise in life. A real parable. As to whether it is a children’s book or not …. I’m not sure either, though I did read it to all of mine as children and I know they have all read it since as adults (no choice if they come and stay given that it is firmly on the bedside table!)

      Liked by 1 person

      May 11, 2017
  12. I read your post with attention and pleas: it described a world unknown to me so well that I could enter into it.

    As you might guess, The Little Prince arouses nothing in me more than a desire to crop his locks and give him Foxe’s Book of Martyrs to read – and the final vision of Fabien in Vol de Nuit sours the book for me which is a pity as otherwise its depiction of striving and sacrifice for an ideal is beautifully drawn.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 11, 2017
    • Yes, I imagine le Petit Prince would irritate you intensely. Your uncompromising dispatching of him is vintage Venomous Bead for which I thank you. I am glad that I was able to at least draw a picture of an unknown world to you in a way that made some sense.

      Liked by 2 people

      May 12, 2017
      • No book can appeal to everyone. Not even Harry Potter (which I don’t enjoy, curiously, though I have a high regard for Ms Rowling). I think the fact is that I didn’t ever allow the 6-year old me to evaporate which can, believe me, be an irritant to the masses!

        Liked by 1 person

        May 13, 2017
  13. I have to confess to not having read “The Little Prince”! Perhaps that can be remedied later this month? Your piece took me back more years than I care to admit to! Final year at school, exciting yet scary prospect of travelling over 300 miles to Uni if the A Levels were good enough. Then I did a really stupid thing and crashed dad’s pride and joy, his Ford Cortina GT. I was showing off of course. He forgave me eventually but didn’t offer to lend me the car again! So, am I now older and wiser than I was at seventeen? Older certainly, but I still have crazy reckless moments and wouldn’t have it any other way!

    Liked by 2 people

    May 11, 2017
    • French or English? Or both? They are at your disposal later in the month. Your story of the car made me hoot. I was seventeen and three quarters when I got my licence and one of the first things I did was to drive my mother’s car into the side of my father’s. In front of him. Unforgettable and not funny at the time …. but looking back ‘bluddy HELL. You STUPID girl’ and the neighbour he was talking to high tailing it over the garden fence!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      May 12, 2017
  14. Reblogged this on Lincoln Life Blog.

    Liked by 2 people

    May 11, 2017
    • Thank you so much for re-blogging my post. It is really kind of you.

      Like

      May 12, 2017
  15. When I was a teenager I discovered “The Little Prince” on a bookshelf at my house. It was an old copy from the 40s that was my mother’s. I loved that book — and I knew the special spot it occupied, very assumingly, on a low shelf. Every once in a while I would pull it off and smile through the pages, loving both words and drawings. Several years ago, when I was at my parents’ house one day, I noticed it wasn’t in its usual spot. My mother had dementia and couldn’t tell me where it had gone. I felt sad, but sort of forgot about it, until…

    I was helping my oldest daughter get settled in her first apartment after college. She was setting up her bookshelves. When she pulled “The Little Prince” out of a box to put on the shelf, I gasped.

    “How long have you had that?” I asked.

    “Grammy gave it me one summer,” she said, “before I went to college.”

    I don’t mind at all that the book skipped me and went directly to the next generation. It seems so appropriate, don’t you think?

    Liked by 3 people

    May 11, 2017
    • I do think. What a wonderful gift your mother gave her grand-daughter. It actually made my eyes prick with tears. So appropriate. And you know where the book is should you need it. This precious copy which must be one of the first editions.

      Liked by 1 person

      May 12, 2017
  16. Pan #

    At 17, taking me back to a time when spurts of angst and excitement were blurred emotions, often out of context and misplaced..

    I believe I breezed thru my preteen years with sanity and common sense, with little knowledge and less experience.. That went out the window about when I turned 14.. By 16 I knew everything and needed no one to tell me what to do.. I wanted to date a boy but the rule was 16 “if” I was mature enough.. The answer to every denied request was, you’re not mature enough yet.. Of course that would send me into a tailspin and I’d acknowledge it with a grand temper tantrum.. Way to go me, that’s showing them !

    At some point in my 20s reality began to set in, no matter how hard I railed against it..

    If I could go back, it would be prior to 14yrs old.. Six, that was a great year.. I drew my first picture that wasn’t scribbles.. It was a picture of Snoopy laying up on his doghouse.. The last year of me the child, was probably 10 years old.. My inner child will always be 6 thru 10.. And your post took me there again 😊

    The Little Prince.. Never heard of it before I watched a cartoon, by the same name based on the book..
    I don’t want to leak any spoilers but I’ll let emoticons show the rollercoaster ride it was to take me on..
    🙂 ☺ 😊 🤔😕😯🤤😭😬😰🤔🤐😕🤔😔😒💛

    Running the story in my head, that’s about the right order too..

    Liked by 2 people

    May 11, 2017
    • I haven’t watched any of the various films including the most recent although it was very well reviewed. Fear of disappointment, I suppose. But your emoti-review actually gives a picture of accuracy that makes me think perhaps I will after all. I love your description of 14-16 year old you. I was laughing out loud. I too would go back to 6 but I have a theory. Half Baked, of course. I believe that we are all an aged through our whole lives. Some are born as old men and women some are literal babies and never progress because they can’t and I am 6. I think you are too. 6 is special, by the way!

      Liked by 2 people

      May 12, 2017
      • Pan #

        I streamed the new animated version by Netflix.. There is a missing emoticon but only because I worried it would be misunderstood..

        I agree with your half baked theory but lean towards it being a choice rather than can’t..
        You are one of few people people I’ve ever met (almost, but will 😀), with knowledge, common sense and in depth understanding to use both wisely.. Trying to visualize you in “can’t mode” 🤔 sorry nope..

        My half baked theory ( yes, I’m borrowing that !) is our inner child, is the heart of who we are, that we do make that choice..

        I hate the taste of Brussel sprouts so much “I can’t eat them” .. Of course I can if I want to gag and get an upset tummy..

        I believe we choose our inner child to sooth our jaded souls.. For some, maybe it was the best time in their life or the most innocent..

        Your post and response made me delve deeper as to why, I think it’s because that was when I was my natural best.. I like that me the best 😊
        I was a perpetual thorn to my sis but when she broke her arm and I saw her in her bed with this monster cast on her arm, I blurted out “You can have my tv”.. Hers had stopped working just a few days before.. I guess I thought she’d be stuck in bed and didn’t want her stuck with no tv.. Mom said I didn’t have to but I said I wanted to.. I was a brat, but I had a heart that gave easily..
        Somewhere along the way, that heart gave out, fled or went into hiding.. I am not nice by nature anymore.. There became a disconnect.. I can list reasons by the pages but it doesn’t matter the reason.. Just like 99% of the human race, I’ve changed thru my lifetime.. In the last several years I’ve been making my way back to that kid who incessantly asked and wondered why, about everything and kindness wasn’t overshadowed by doubt .. I guess you could say, my 6 year old self is the me I look up to..

        Liked by 2 people

        May 12, 2017
      • I would say you have it nailed, there. ‘I was a grate but I had a heart that gave easily. Somewhere along the way, that heart gave out, fled or went into hiding’ …. I relate so strongly to that. Let your 6-year old guide you. She will. Because you are right – she is the you that you most look up to. The you that you are when it is just you and Stewie, and might I add, the you that I ‘know’ even though we have not met. Let those 6 year olds have a party together when we finally have that meeting. Because the 6 year olds know stuff ❤️

        Liked by 2 people

        May 13, 2017
  17. I can see why you keep a copy of the Little Prince always nearby. The wisdom is the simple words of the Prince is timeless. Yes, the land of tears is very private.

    Liked by 2 people

    May 11, 2017
    • I have a sequel piece that I think I may write but it comes from that secret place that somehow urges me not to be hasty …. thank you Bernadette – you understand and I wish you didn’t.

      Liked by 2 people

      May 12, 2017
  18. Janis Ian is a bonus. I had not heard her before and I can feel those lines alright. I read The Little Prince such a long time ago that I do not even remember when I first laid my hands on it. So naturally your post makes me want to re-read it. I wish I could read it in French but since I cannot, I will go with English all over again. I believe nuances would change and be lost through translation. Which language do you prefer it in? As for your daughter turning 22, I can almost hear my mother’s wistfulness in turn. Well no matter what, she will always be your baby girl, isn’t it? xx

    Liked by 2 people

    May 11, 2017
    • Oh certainly still my baby girl …. that never changes and actually the bliss of them getting to this stage is that they actually like to be cosseted and spoiled once more whereas as teens I was often just plain embarrassing! Actually, I think so long as you go with the original translation it is very good and not much is lost. Of course a translation is always personal. These days I read the French if I am going to read it and for example the translation of the line I used to me would be – ‘it is so mysterious, the land of tears’ which I actually like less than the translation – secret somehow makes it more personal. So for me, the English is my fall-back and my memory of so many times reading the book when I was younger and the French is my pure delight xx

      Liked by 2 people

      May 12, 2017
      • To be cosseted is a wonderful feeling. No one can complain but yes teens do have their own rules and regulations, so I guess you gotta abide by them. I was an annoying teen and always wanted to be shut away into my own little world. The thing is I love the fact that you do get the best of both worlds then. The French line does not pack the same punch as the English, I admit. I love reading Bengali books once in a while, and when I see translations of them in English, I see how the basic phrases and words that add the essential punch to the book just disappear. It is a pity but one cannot learn all languages. I always think it is a pity to miss out on great literature in the language that it was originally written in.

        Liked by 2 people

        May 12, 2017
      • Oh wouldn’t that be the greatest of gifts … to be able to speak and understand all languages. I suppose that was the spirit behind Esperanto but I don’t think it really took off!!!

        Liked by 1 person

        May 12, 2017
      • Osyth, I did not even know about Esperanto, so thank you. I am learning new things everyday! What an ingenious idea xx

        Liked by 1 person

        May 12, 2017
  19. I am writing a post of mine here it seems with the length of my comment. But that title is heartwarming.

    Liked by 3 people

    May 11, 2017
  20. Wonderful post and Janis video, thanks for sharing!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    May 11, 2017
    • Thank you so much …. it was my delight for sharing Janis! I’m glad you enjoyed the rest a bit too 😊

      Like

      May 12, 2017
  21. As I walk through the landscape of the vision you have imposed on my mind I can’t help but cry out for that little boy and feel the passion of his thoughts. I see myself reflected in the story and will have to read it. I also sense your feeling of bitter sweet loss as your youngest crosses the threshold at the end of your guidance and the beginning of her own, ever hopeful that the wisdom you presented was worthy. Knowing you as I do, I’m sure it was.

    Liked by 3 people

    May 11, 2017
    • Oh WG that is a lovely lovely comment. You must find a copy of the book. It is beautiful and I know you will get great value from it. I gave my daughters roots and wings. It is their journey but I am always here if needed. When needed I hope a little.

      Liked by 3 people

      May 12, 2017
      • Pan #

        You will always be needed as Mom 💛

        The most thankless and rewarding job in the world.. Impossibly true..

        Liked by 1 person

        May 12, 2017
      • I lost my mother in my 30’s, Osyth, and I promise you I needed her then as well as afterwards. I wish we BOTH had reached out to one another more often when she was alive – so don’t be shy with your girls, who no doubt mean to contact you but are so busy with their new and exciting adult lives.

        I am going to suggest The Little Prince to my book club – and will read it myself whether their response is yea or nay.

        I couldn’t WAIT to go off on my own when I was 17 and still in High School. My father was very strict — I longed to shed the shackles (and I did when I got to college. Joyfully). My “truth” learned at 17 was that the boys would ask and my dad would usually say no – lol. 🙂

        Still, I loved (and love) Janis and her music – and had not heard this particular tune in decades, so thanks for posting it today. The photo of the bridge was stunningly evocative, btw.
        xx,
        mgh
        (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
        ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
        “It takes a village to transform a world!”

        Liked by 2 people

        May 17, 2017
      • Hey Madelyn – how lovely to see you after a little delay. The Little Prince is really a book that everyone would benefit from so I hope your book club acquiesces. As for overbearing fathers – their hearts are generally in the right place but clumsy is the path they tread. Glad you enjoyed Janis. She got it pretty much perfect as did Antoine de Saint Exupery. I think.

        Liked by 2 people

        May 17, 2017
      • Before my (loving but unusually linear and strict) father died after living to a ripe old age, he reread the classics (to keep his mind sharp, he said). I hope to do something similar when I reach my 80’s, since it has been decades since I first read them in High School and as an English minor in college. We read so many of them at such a rapid clip I’d love to have the time to wander and reflect. Doesn’t that sound like heaven?
        xx,
        mgh

        Liked by 1 person

        May 17, 2017
  22. Such a lovely post as always Osyth. As I was reading this I was expecting the book you obtained so furtively from your “tawdry” second hand book shop to be Lady Chatterly, but of course you had already obtained that equally as furtively I suspect 🙂 Your daughter’s photo is quite lovely.

    Liked by 3 people

    May 11, 2017
    • Oh heavens yes! Lady Chatterly and I met quite a bit with the excuse that I should read all of Lawrence’s works if I was to make sense of the text set for O Level (Sons and Lovers) …. I remain a devotee! I will pass your compliment to my daughter. Her degree show is in less than 2 weeks and she needs nice words, I think!

      Liked by 1 person

      May 12, 2017
  23. It’s funny down which paths the Universe leads us sometimes. Being a Mum is not just for Christmas, though we don’t get to understand that bittersweet pleasure until we become one ourselves.

    Liked by 2 people

    May 12, 2017
    • Thank you Anna – it is most kind of you to drop in and leave such a lovely comment 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      May 12, 2017
  24. A great book. The fox spoke to me in my darkest days

    Liked by 3 people

    May 12, 2017
  25. A beautiful written post Osyth, as usual you had me on each word; I could not let go. I have not read the book ‘The Little Prince’ and am unfamiliar with it. This post I understood the meaning as the reflecting of our lives can be very dramatic. Thank you for a great post, I wish you a day full of sunshine and of beautiful reflections. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    May 12, 2017
    • Thank you Terry … I am always touched by your kind comments. Sunshine and storms today so the reflections are mostly in puddles!

      Liked by 1 person

      May 12, 2017
  26. A lovely piece on how our role as parents can make us think back to our youth, those days when we knew everything and nothing. I think we’re still allowed to act our younger selves again, on occasion – years of acquired wisdom tell us where to draw the boundaries. Or maybe they don’t! I had Janis Ian in mind as I read the post and am pleased you chose to share that fabulous song with us. I’ve always thought it a perfect take on how we learn from life. I’m now off to buy a copy of the Little Prince – en Anglais 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    May 12, 2017
    • Oh Clive you will LOVE the book … I’m convinced. Do let me know what you think. I definitely give myself permission to be youthful and often. Sometimes I am 6, sometimes 16 still other times 26 but always joyful. Janis Ian’s song had to be shared – after all, I shamelessly quoted her throughout and had her scanning in my mind as I wrote and anyway, I love the song. It is a perfect evocation of that time and one that I think will never be bettered! X

      Liked by 2 people

      May 12, 2017
      • I will, but don’t hold your breath please, as it’s ages since I read a whole book! I’m glad you allow yourself the opportunity to be youthful – we should all do it. Maybe it’s because I’m male, but as well as the Janis Ian song the one I’ve always related to about growing up and coming of age is Cat Stevens’ Father And Son (NOT the Groaning Ronan abomination of a cover though!) xx

        Liked by 2 people

        May 12, 2017
      • My husband loves that song (the original, natch) and speaking of Cat Stevens there are two others that speak to me – one is ‘Oh Very Young’ and the other is ‘Wild World’. Actually there are dozens of others (I remain devoted to him). It’s not a hard book, by the way but I still won’t hold my breath as blue just doesn’t become my complexion!!! Xxxx

        Liked by 2 people

        May 12, 2017
      • I’ll admit to the odd tear when I saw him play it live a few years ago. It’s on my list for Saturday Songs, when I get around to restarting them! He did Wild World too – several off that album, in fact. It must be one of his favourites too. I’m pleased to have spared you an unwelcome complexion change 😊xxx

        Liked by 1 person

        May 12, 2017
  27. I wanted to comment last night, but I was on my tablet and it is not good for typing properly. (on a side note, I had to type this is Word and insert it into this comment box because typing directly in would not let me use l and r – weird!)
    Anyway, thank you so much for articulating so beautifully, the feelings I also have on seeing my children grow into adults. It is what we raise them for, but heart-stretching at the same time, to see them accomplish it. As children I was greedy to have all their moments, by this I mean if a photo was taken of them I had to have a copy too – I became a tad obsessive about it.
    As a parent it has been … difficult .. to let go, we were such a compact unit of 3. But my unit is expanding with Grandson and SIL, and I am very thankful that my adult children still want to spend time with me. I am learning that watching from the near sidelines is ok.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 12, 2017
    • HOw strange the l and r thing …. I have had this on and off for the past couple of days …. 🤔 For different reasons we, too were a tight little unit (of 5) with me, the sole adult and I found it (and still find it) hard to let go. Moving to France forced me away from them on a daily basis and that has helped but I still have to remind myself that it’s OK, this shift and that we are all still together in our hearts. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      May 13, 2017
      • Oh, the typing must be a wordpress issue then, it has happened a coupe of times previously, but usually was delayed and then they appeared.
        Together in our hearts describes it perfectly.

        Liked by 1 person

        May 13, 2017
  28. Beautiful post Osyth. Loved your expressions especially the video. Great share!!

    Like

    May 13, 2017
  29. I read this to my very young son in my early twenties. Reading this post brought it back, we shared so much then, read so much together, played together. We continued to share titles when he was at uni and after. Now we exchange texts about pro bike races and read books to his voracious young children. The Lorax is very popular.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 13, 2017
  30. Thanks for sharing your thoughtfulness. Lots to reflect on here. I confess I have not read the book, but loved the extract that conjures up the often uncompromising heartfeltness of childhood. I have always loved that Janis Ian song, but oddly it was sight of the Old Grey Whistle Test logo that caused an unexpected pang of wistfulness …

    Liked by 2 people

    May 13, 2017
    • Me too! The Whistle Test Logo – How many of us miss that iconic brand? Nothing has ever compared to it even though they have tried their damnedest. The Little Prince has much to teach about nature as well as the foolhardiness of what humankind feels important.

      Liked by 2 people

      May 14, 2017
      • Janet Street Porter has a lot to answer for.. she took the decision to end this iconic programme..

        Liked by 1 person

        May 15, 2017
      • I didn’t know it was Janet. I knew here once upon a blue moon. And she is the butt of my favourite joke ‘what does JSP wash her fice (stet) in’ …. ‘a bison’ boom boom 💥

        Liked by 1 person

        May 15, 2017
      • So now from tears to laughter – thanks Osyth.. you’re ‘roller coasting’ my emotions and shaking up my day! xx

        Liked by 1 person

        May 15, 2017
  31. What a beautiful poignant post. Happy Mother’s Day! Congratulations on raising four accomplished daughters. I am always 19 in my head… 😍

    Liked by 3 people

    May 14, 2017
    • Oh how I loved 19! Much better than 17 – the hurdle of 18 cleared with aplomb and everything lying tantalisingly ahead! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post 😊

      Liked by 3 people

      May 14, 2017
  32. Gosh Osyth…. you truly placed that book on my bedside this morning with this beautiful post.. I recognise that feeling of ‘letting go’ and also realise how lucky I am to have children who have grown into their own adult world… Wow – that song took me back.. 1976, just sixteen and embarking on a life with my now husband after feeling that sense of being ‘out of place’ during my shoolhood years… A truly stirring post Osyth.. xx

    Liked by 2 people

    May 15, 2017
    • Thank you Wendy … as mothers we all share the bittersweet feelings but of course as the life cycle progresses you know the joy of grandchildren. Janis Ian, I think captured that sense of 17 perfectly. And St Exupery the reality that children have real wisdom if only we will listen! Xx

      Liked by 1 person

      May 15, 2017
      • I do Osyth and it provides an opportunity to pass on some wisdom that I simply didn’t have when I was younger bringing up my sons.. I sat in bed on Sunday morning with a piece of rose quartz (the crystal of ‘love’ and loving yourself) and played lovely game where we had to say what we ‘loved about ourselves’ and then tell whoever was holdin the crystal what we love about them… It was a magical morning.. how lucky I am! Yes you’re right – children have the ‘natural wisdom’ which is truly inspirational xx

        Liked by 2 people

        May 15, 2017
      • What a beautiful game to play …. I feel I must store that in my heart and play it with the girls and when the time comes with their own children xx

        Liked by 2 people

        May 15, 2017
      • It was one of those ‘in the moment’ occasions which turned out to be magical.. I would definitely encourage anyone of any age to do this.. However… I can imagine the response from my sons’… ‘ughhh mum – what you talking about!’… although maybe I should ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’.. even if just to cause the normal amusement my sons have at my ‘moments of inspiration’.. I’m definitely the butt of many jokes and who knows.. one day ‘mum’s advice’ may even be considered as of value in hindsight.. I can continue to dream… haha! x

        Liked by 2 people

        May 15, 2017
  33. impressive and emotional… you’ve written this post with your generous heart… ❤
    * * *
    @‘The Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupery’ – it's been mon livre de chevet for decades, and I still keep this tiny treasure on my night-table, since it has a sentimental value: our daughter studied it in CM-1 and she added her own comments at the end… 🙂 last but not least: she has just offered its French & English version to one of her American colleagues as a b'day gift for she loves France, in general, and St-Ex, in particular… ❤
    * * *
    https://myvirtualplayground.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/loin-des-yeux-mais-pres-du-coeur-out-of-sight-but-close-to-my-heart/

    P.S. ”Ce qui donne un sens à la vie donne un sens à la mort… Si tu veux comprendre le mot ‘bonheur’, il faut l’entendre comme une récompense, et non comme un but…”(Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)

    Liked by 2 people

    May 15, 2017
    • How lovely to have a copy inscribed by your daughter’s hand at that age. And how wonderful a gift to her American colleague … we sent our Russian friends home with a copy in French (since he is studying French) to read and share with their little boy when he is old enough. I figured that would give Sergey time to get to grips with the language 😉That quote from A St Ex is perfect. But then I tend to think he was one of the wisest of men. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your lovely comment.

      Liked by 2 people

      May 15, 2017
      • you’re always welcome… ❤ I've dedicated several blog-posts to Tonio aka St-Ex, as to me he's kinda "Homme de la Renaissance" for he was a GG = genuine genius… 🙂 btw, we live about 4km-away from the small airfield where he used to take off and to land before he vanished off-Corsica in August 1944… last but not least: you may recall that a fisherman from Marseille found St-Ex's "gourmette"(bracelet) in his fishing net several years ago, and it was given back to some relatives from Toulouse…

        Liked by 1 person

        May 17, 2017
      • P.S. several years back, I had the chance, honor and privilege to meet Mrs. D. P. whose father had been a flight test mechanician for Latécoère Company and St-Exupéry’s friend during the Aeropostale season; they’d met in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1929 and remained close friends until Tonio’s disappearance in August 1944. She did confirm that “Night Flight” had been inspired by the hard work of the pilots who used to fly between Buenos Aires and Commodoro Rivadavia, often by appalling weather conditions that predominated over the overflown deserted regions. Her dad’s memories about St-Ex had always been excellent and heartfelt: a nice and devoted fellow of great righteousness, a little “rough”, shy and energetic at work. No excessive familiarity or vulgarity, never big rants.
        Yet during the night stopovers or before departures, after a tasty dinner, he could set up a warm ambiance and friendly intimacy. Extremely interested in nature’s forces and spiritualism – his favourite hobby, he had his own vision of humanity, man’s fate and being a pilot. Saint-Exupéry was 30 when he wrote “Night Flight” which is above all a hymn to the night, as it awakens our memories and urges us to inner meditation:”the night that worries you, the hard night, the huge night that shuts you down …” Tonio, the pilot-poet of tenderness and sensitivity knows how to discover them in the heart of the beloved one, between her human and her spiritual sides, a true harmony of natural, simple and genuine feelings… ❤
        * * *
        he was such a visionnaire:”Si je suis descendu, je ne regretterai absolument rien. La termitière future m’épouvante. Et je hais leurs vertus de robots. Moi, j’étais fait pour être jardinier.”(Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)

        Liked by 2 people

        May 17, 2017
      • Thank you. I am grateful for these glimpses of the man behind the words. I will read ‘Night Flight’ which was recommended many years ago and somehow slipped but @sultanabun has reminded me that I should and you have concreted that should into a will! ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

        May 17, 2017
  34. What a beautiful post Osyth which really left a pang in my heart. Only today my 19 year old daughter was on the phone to me, crying and upset, recently moved out of home for a new job far away she’s struggling with complexities of life, relationships and so much. As a mother it tears me up, wanting to help and being there for her yet knowing in many ways she’s on her own. Raw heartfelt post that I felt to my core. Thank you. xo

    Liked by 2 people

    May 15, 2017
    • Oh Miriam, I am SO sorry to hear about your daughter. Very hard for her and desperately hard for you. I send your daughter the strength and the emotional agility to navigate her minefield and I send you such fortitude and optimism that all shall be well in its time. I really do feel your heartache and your dilemma. Don’t we just want to run and gather them up and magic it all better again? X

      Liked by 3 people

      May 15, 2017
      • Oh that’s exactly what I want to do Osyth, gather her up and magically take all her worries and sadness away. But I guess that’s part of life isn’t it, watching our kids navigate and hopefully succeeding through life but sometimes faltering. All we can do is be there. Thank you for your kindness and well wishes, that means a lot to me. xo

        Liked by 2 people

        May 15, 2017
      • That is all we can do. And it’s very very hard. I’m glad that the simple act of understanding and warm wishes helps a little. Xx

        Liked by 2 people

        May 16, 2017
  35. Gorgeous, wistful and lovely!

    Liked by 2 people

    May 15, 2017
  36. I was humming ” it was a very good year” in my head while reading this… Somewhat! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    May 15, 2017
  37. Such a beautiful and poignant post Osyth. I have not read The Little Prince but you have prompted me to put it on my must read list.

    Liked by 2 people

    May 17, 2017
    • Thank you and thank you for gracing me by following my nonsense. I hope you will read The Little Prince and enjoy it as much as I always have.

      Liked by 2 people

      May 17, 2017
  38. Beautiful post O and brought back so many memories of those distant years when I was going to conquer the world. I never had children of my own but my mother once said to me “when you are upset my heart bleeds a little for you and when you are happy my heart sings for you.” She had just turned 90 at the time and suffered from dementia yet somehow she managed to dredge that from somewhere deep inside her. She died a few days later but i will always remember those words. Thank you for the reminder.

    Liked by 2 people

    May 17, 2017
    • What a touching and poignant memory to have of your mamma. I will keep those words tucked in my heart, if I may for they are beautiful, really really beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

      May 17, 2017
  39. I will have to check this book out. Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

    May 17, 2017
    • I hope you enjoy it. He was quite the visionary M. A de St Ex, I think.

      Liked by 1 person

      May 17, 2017
  40. OH the pain of our little ones growing up….not only does it age us,, but it takes them a little further away….I can’t remember the last time my daughter called me mommy….my son still does when he needs me…mommy come out….I can always tell there is a problem…..ahhh to be seventeen again, I was engaged to my daughters father, I thought I had the world by the tale and knew just what was in store for me…..man was I ever wrong…great song…xxkat

    Liked by 1 person

    May 22, 2017
    • Yes, I just had daughter number three (she’s 24) staying. Bittersweet it always is. You can’t turn back time but that yearning to just bundle them up and snuggle squeeze them is intense. I reckon the 17 year old Kat was quite a catch and remains so. It’s just that the wrong fisherman caught you a few times. Like me. But when the right line hooked us …. life got better really. I send you so much love ❤️ xx

      Like

      May 22, 2017
      • I have no regrets with how many fish I had to snag…LOL made me a better person….and yup, the right one came along finally…..would never throw him back….sending some California fog this morning…..our own natural air conditioner…..xxkat

        Liked by 1 person

        May 22, 2017
      • I know that feeling perfectly! I’m sending sunshine your way … clean mountain fresh sunshine ☀️xx

        Liked by 1 person

        May 22, 2017
  41. Hi Osyth, i am taking a break from our summer trip to check on some of my fellow bloggers who live around UK..

    I thought maybe you are near the area
    …here’s wishing you well..my prayers to all the people of UK

    Liked by 1 person

    May 23, 2017
    • My daughter is a student in Liverpool which is very near Manchester but she tells me that she and everyone she knows in the city are safe and well. Of course they are absolutely devastated. Thank you, kind, kind Mich. Thank you for taking time to ask. The kindness of people is what gives me the resolve that we can and will get through these dark times peppered with sick minds manipulating fools to carry out such atrocious acts. 🙏🏼

      Liked by 1 person

      May 23, 2017
      • Its great to know your daughter is fine…be safe osyth…pray for the Phillippines too as news of a simultaneous attacks has reached a distant city here…
        Its a little farther from where i am but this is still very alarming.

        Be well and be safe..

        Liked by 1 person

        May 24, 2017
      • I will pray. I pray for the world actually. I pray that humankind stops being humanUNkind. I pray for tolerance. I have hope. I know that we can if we will. I know that if we put our collective arms around one another, reach out and silently take one another’s hands, I know that then the power of good will overcome the evil canker that pervades. Stay safe, my friend 🙏🏼

        Liked by 1 person

        May 24, 2017
      • Thanks Osyth..currently, the President declared a martial law within that area…this is very alarming..

        We need prayers…

        Liked by 1 person

        May 24, 2017
      • It smacks of war. War is not the answer. You have my prayers.

        Liked by 1 person

        May 24, 2017
      • Thanks Osyth

        Liked by 1 person

        May 25, 2017
  42. I miss being Seventeen! And your post reminds me of the movie 17 Again! I don’t know if you have seen this one but it resonates the feeling☺️ And that picture looks like coming right out of prettiest picture books🤘🤘 love reading your posts, there is so much to learn from your experience and wisdom. Thank you💛

    Liked by 1 person

    May 24, 2017
    • Seventeen is such an age of hidden promises yet to come …. I guess the sadness is that we become more jaded as we find out what the promises really consist of. However, if we protect our inner child and continue to wonder and take wonder from this incredible opportunity we have to live and love we get so much more out of life. You know that …. with your travels, with the wonder that you feel and convey with your own beautiful pictures and writings of places I can only imagine. Thank you for always being kind and thoughtful. Those are traits to be protected. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      May 24, 2017
      • That brings smile to my face 💛💛 well, we surely try to focus on love and happiness and sharing it with our two year old. Thank you for staying connected and encouraging me to write and share.

        Liked by 1 person

        May 24, 2017
      • I have been very busy with visitors these last few weeks – the last of them come this weekend and before that I must take a trip to Liverpool (England) to see my youngest daughter (22 now but still 2 in my head, I expect) and her Degree Show for her Batchelor’s Degree in Fine Arts which she graduates in July. After that, I intend to share your blog on FaceBook and suggest to specific people that they would enjoy it. You are a lovely family …. I adore the fact that you continue to travel to magical places with your little one … my daughters (4 of them) were included in everything I did. It is the right way. And I mean every word … your blog is really beautiful

        Liked by 1 person

        May 24, 2017
      • Congratulations to you and your daughter🤘🤘🤘 must be such a proud feeling as a parent☺️ Thank you, that is one of the most beautiful compliments I have received 😊😊 and it comes from YOU 💕 feels amazing because I admire you and your writings so much. Day before yesterday I was telling Ashish about you ☺️I was like I’m so happy that via blog I got to connect to wonderful soul like you💛💛 Thank you again.

        Liked by 1 person

        May 24, 2017
      • I am super-proud of her. Blogging has a very good side to it and you are on the very good side – I’m delighted that we have found one another in this sphere and I look forward to walking alongside you as the days and weeks and years unfold. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        May 24, 2017
      • Absolutely 💛💛💕💕

        Liked by 1 person

        May 24, 2017
  43. What a beautiful reflection, Osyth. I always enjoy your lovely writing.😊 xo

    Liked by 1 person

    May 25, 2017
  44. I’ve never read The Little Prince, but now it’s on my TBR list.

    Liked by 1 person

    June 1, 2017
  45. I love your memories, Fi! 💞 The Little Prince is one book I read in French class (but took years of Spanish so sounded like my Creole teacher more than “proper” French!
    I get sentimental quite often and it is now due to my two olderst grandchildren! One turns 13 in June, Lara, and the other turns 13 in November. Oh, how swiftly years flew by! Even quicker tgany single mom days. . . love ya, girlfriend! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    June 9, 2017
    • And the wise ones make the most of every moment … you are one of the wise xo

      Liked by 1 person

      June 9, 2017
      • Most of the time, Fiona! Tonight I lost my patience with my boyfriend. We rarely see each other due to family commitments. He said he had to eat dinner with his family because he hadn’t told them he had plans or he could have invited me over. . . I told him I was hurt and disappointed. This may topple over a year of trying to be caring and positive. Thanks for listening! xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

        June 11, 2017
      • Oh Robin, I am so sorry to read this. Your boyfriend is being unreasonable in this instance and I am not at all surprised your feel hurt and disappointed. Try not to let this one thing push the relationship over. Perhaps you could use a shared Google calendar. My husband and I do and as unromantic as it sounds, when you have complicated lives and a big blended, or in your case, not yet blended, family it takes the guesswork out and saves many arguments. It does mean we both have to be diligent about ensuring we both keep it up to date and we both check it and have learned to look ahead which doesn’t come naturally to him but it works for us. I hope that might help you get through this. It would be very sad to waste the caring you have given your boyfriend because of a misalignment of commitments. I send you warm, sincere and empathetic hugs 🤗 xo

        Like

        June 11, 2017
  46. “…It was long ago and far away…” Thank you for this journey back through time. From Le Petit Prince in primary school at the Lycée, then Janis Ian so vivid and in some ways timeless in my teenage soul, to my 25 year old man-boy son who is exploring and finding his own way.

    And Janis Ian, well, just like the Little Prince she’s been around all this time. Thank you for sending both of them, and the memories they hold, back my way.

    Liked by 1 person

    June 11, 2017
    • A kindred spirit who ‘gets’ what I am twittering on about is so welcome. Thank you for the lovely comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      June 11, 2017
  47. Thank you for the linkage – it is much appreciated!

    Like

    May 12, 2017

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