Deep in the Hundred Acre Wood

THIS summer on a tiny, fog-shrouded island in Penobscot Bay, I was reading ``Winnie-the-Pooh'' and ``The House at Pooh Corner'' to our grandchildren. As we cozied up together on the lumpy brown sofa beside the fire, the magic of the Hundred Acre Wood and its gentle inhabitants fell upon us. One of the delights of this book is that we can see some part of ourselves in each one of Christopher Robin's friends. Our small conceits, our dreams, our uncertainties and often failing courage are reflected in those wonderful animals. Milne forgives each one his peccadillos and loves them in spite of themselves.

When have we not, at some time, made an awful mistake and felt, like Pooh, A Bear of Very Little Brain? Although we may not have exactly gotten stuck, like Pooh, in Rabbit's front doorway, the humiliation was equally hard to bear. But then we are cheered by these words:

```Rabbit has Brain.'

``There was a long silence.

```I suppose,' said Pooh, `that that's why he never understands anything.'''

Like Piglet, we yearn for reassurance that the world is a kindly place and often fall victim to fears that it really is not.

``Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind.

```Pooh,' he whispered.

```Yes, Piglet.'

```Nothing,' said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw. `I just wanted to be sure of you.'''

How often do we find ourselves ``busying about'' like Rabbit, a bit imperious, self-important and in great need of ``organizing'' something. We say hello ``in the voice of one who would be saying `Good-bye' in about two more minutes'' - no time to stop and visit or smell the flowers. We are really impossible during those times.

Then there are the days when we must nurture and worry like Kanga, about grandchildren, middle-aged children, parents, husbands and wives. If only we could make everything turn out all right by DOING something. Like Kanga we find ourselves murmuring, anxiously,

``Are you all right, Roo, dear?''

Certainly there is in some of us a disconcerting bounciness which upsets our friends and relations, a Tigger-like enthusiasm that exhausts the more fainthearted and a dreadful tendency to say anything that comes into our head with abandon.

On bad days it is easy to believe, with Eeyore, that, ``It will rain soon, you see if it doesn't.''

Then, at other times, with Roo-like faith, we leap into the arms of another day with a happy squeak and perfect faith that someone will catch us.

Once in a great while will come a time, an odd Thursday perhaps, when we think we have all the answers, like Owl, who after all, could spell TUESDAY - a day when people turn to us with:

``You don't say? Why, I've never really thought about that. You're quite right, of course.''

Sometimes we feel like Small and wish someone would find us.

But no matter what I see of myself in Milne's mirror from day to day, I fervently hope that, like Piglet, the first thing I will always say to myself when I wake up in the morning is,

``I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?''

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