When I was a child my favourite stories were Heidi, Little Women and The Secret Garden. Why they were my favourites I will go into later, but for now, I will focus on Heidi. A little girl in Switzerland sent to live with her grandfather on a mountain.
The appeal of the story to my 7-year-old self was the idea of running freely up and down green pathways breathing in clean alpine air. If you aren’t familiar with the character, Heidi, she gets to drink fresh goat’s milk and eat and appreciate really good cheese. The descriptive writing from author Johanna Spyri made me want to have the same experience and taste really great dairy. As Heidi acclimatises to mountain living she grows in health and vitality and she gets to build a relationship with her grandfather, make new friends and generally feel better with life.
The story of Heidi came back to me one day a few weeks after relocating from Dubai to the mountains of the Algarve, Portugal. Putting my trainers on to take my dog Shakespeare for a walk I looked up from my laces at the house I’m renting, the slanted wood rafters in the ceiling, the wood burner and the view out from the terrace. In the words of John Lennon, ‘you may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one’ it was like the story I read countless times as a child that imprinted on my mind and here I was living on a mountain, lured by the idea of a clean environment and healthy living. As I look out over a vista of pine, eucalyptus and oak trees it feels good to be here and who knows what will happen as I embark on a new chapter. Let’s see what motivates, moves, heals and enriches me along the way.
My Top Three Children’s Stories
Heidi, Little Women, The Secret Garden.
They all focus on loss, relationships, transformation, healing and eventually happiness (because every good story has to end this way, right?). And two of the stories are about the healing power of nature (and strangely coincidental, two of these stories see an invalid child walk again!).
Make what you will of my literary and musical choices and the connections I make and I hope you will share your thoughts and experiences with me here too.