In My Wildest Dreams: Adventures in Children's Fiction






House Martin - The Bringer of Stories.

The other day I stopped on the way to my destination and stood stock still for ten minutes. A group of House Martins were feeding over a wild patch of water, bog plants and reeds close to the path. Flying fast at shoulder level they spiralled around me. To them I could have been any inanimate object. For me it was as close to airborne birds as I am ever likely to come. I could have looked them in the eye if they hadn't been moving so fast.

The air is light, the sunshine warm. Following small speeding bodies in flight with only one's eyes, the bright background a wash of colour, is disembodying. Such is the lightness of being. Gone is the weight of the world. And so is time. For a moment. This is close to flying.

Ariel.

How to tell of this? Find the right words and pictures to release something in the imagination. This is why children need to learn to love language and illustration from an early age through picture books, songs, poems and nursery rhymes. It is why children need to read and be told stories, and it is why it is beholden upon us to encourage them to enjoy the written word as they grow older.

Seeing a House Martin is one thing, being able to tell someone about the joy of it is another.

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