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Hardy Women, Dreaming Women, & Poet-Magicians

The world is swaying in a white embrace of winter this morning. Strange how a storm can seem so calm. I imagine that is what the great poet-magicians of Old were like - for instance, Gwydion, Math - tranquil in their self-assurance even as they upended the world.

Days like this, I want to run away to the countryside where I can sit wrapped up in some old house, writing, drinking tea, reading by candlelight, while winter has his way with the hills. Mind you, it's all writing, drinking tea, reading, here where I am now too. But I do wish for hills.

Only sometimes though, and only if I'm taken there, then brought back again. I really have no inclination to be a hardy woman. I like a village nearby, and little roads through the hedgerows (not that we have hedgerows here). I like chimney smoke from other houses, and people to meet along the way. I wasn't always so - I had my half-empty house in the forest in the hill-roots. I did the wild thing. But I've come to value comfort. Truth is, I'm more Anne Blythe than Cathy Earnshaw, and unapologetically so. Always was, just didn't know it until I learned in my twenties that I could be. Before that, I hadn't read the book, so didn't know Anne was possible. I had always been surrounded by hardy women.

What I wish for girls is that they are surrounded by a diversity of literature so, no matter where they live or what other women choose to be, they can find mentors, examples, kindred spirits to inspire them in finding their own selves. Modern offerings follow character trends, so thank goodness for the old books, for LM Montgomery and Louisa May Alcott, for those girls who don't want to be fiesty or furious. Or even for the girls who do, but who need to learn that whatever other girls want to be for themselves is okay too.

(Including being a poet-magician, since it's not right that only the boys should have the fun.)


  1. Yes, hooray for literary heroines like Anne, Emily (of New Moon), Jo, and so many others.

    1. Well, personally I can't abide Jo, and I'm not that keen on Emily either. I know I'm in a minority there, though! My favourites are Anne, Rose from Rose In Bloom, Beth March, Anne Elliot, and I'm actually quite fond of Emma Woodhouse too, she has a lovely heart beneath her silliness. :-)

  2. A diversity of literature - and culture - so important!

  3. thing is, cathy earnshaw had servants... even in her natal home, joseph and nellie took care of all the tedious work about the house and barns, so cathy could moon about on the moors with heathcliff, and later swan around with linton or pour out her heart to (still working) nellie late at night... make no mistake; i like cathy better than most of the other characters! but maybe some of the hardiest girls are the ones doing the daily domestic grind, as well as the ones riding off over the hills to do battle. i've never done anything more demanding than rearing my baby gently on no sleep to speak of for years, with illness and sadness and daily housework and no help. slaying a dragon might be easier than getting divorced, in some cases, too?

    as for me, my soul is equally divided between the wildest hills and the cosiest hearthside. i am artemis and hestia, aphrodite and demeter, with a solid dash of hecate thrown in for good measure.

    you are so right---thank goodness for the older books! i just re-read all the alcott books, to cheer me; and a personal favourite has aways been sara crewe, who was kindly to everyone despite their own behaviour toward her, and her own challenges. and the main character in "enchanted april", who somehow manages to transform not only her own life, but all those she is around during their magical holiday. simply by being compassionate and holding to a vision of people being their best selves.

    i love the sound of that house in the forest in the hill roots greatly...only i admit, i'd want reliable hot and cold running water, and central heating is a great thing. i'd get enough of seeing folks when i went to the village to buy my tea, or at the farmer's market weekly.

    sorry for a rambling comment! worse than usual!

  4. "...I can sit wrapped up in some old house, writing, drinking tea, reading by candlelight, while winter has his way with the hills."

    I am having a day like this here even though it is summer on this side of the globe. It's raining and I am under a crocheted afghan, wishing I had a cup of tea.


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