Sunday, September 4, 2011

Santorini Island and the Hundred Acre Wood

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” -A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh Quotes.

Just past the gravel driveway under the large wooden deck of my parent’s farm, what my father calls, “The south-side of the house,” is a long rolling ten acre field that stretches outward into an endless forest of old growth trees.
“I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart for so long. If we’re in each other’s dreams, we can be together all the time.” -Milne

Herds of timid deer stop to nibble wild raspberries and lone coyotes pass through with their noses low to the ground, catching mice and moles and on more than one occasion, a neighboring cat or small dog.
“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh? He whispered.
“Yes, Piglet?”
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.” -Milne

One of my favorite things to do was to walk out into that ten acre field, running my fingers along the tops of the uneven grass and drop invisible to my knees or lay on my back and watch clouds roll by into oblivion as if I was the only person in the world who understood.
“Sometimes,” said Pooh, “The smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” -Milne

The forest was lush with hidden life, raccoon tracks and hanging possums and once I even saw the butt end of a brown bear crawl under the brush. Passing through the trees, I could wander as far as my legs could carry me or my nerve held out because that forest was the edge of my dreams. It was all just one, big dream.
“If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.” -Milne

Traveling through these Greek islands is like that, this dream I pass to the edge of. It makes no sense, it defies everything one knows. It becomes this lesson in childhood all over again: to dream, to live in one’s imagination, and let the world be yours, to take it as far as it can be taken.
“I used to believe in forever, but forever’s too good to be true.” -Milne

That forest behind my house always reminded me of A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, oh yes… that Silly Old Bear with the jars of honey.
“But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.” -Milne

Milne wrote the books for his son, Christopher Robin Milne, who lived to a very old age.
“It’s more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like, “What about lunch?” -Milne

The Hundred Acre Woods is filled with little treasures: the Trap for the Heffalumps and where the Woozle wans’t, Rabbit’s Tree House and the Sandy Pitt where Roo Plays, even Eeyore’s Gloomy Place (Rather Boggy and Sad), is there for the exploring.
“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” -Milne

I thought about Milne and Pooh and Christopher Robin’s 100 Acre Wood while sailing from Mykonos to Santorini. These two destinations that so many people cross the world for, to honeymoon and seal a life with a forever love, to personally re-discover yourself after years of giving it away. Or like me, a father, trying to show his children that the real world is just as fantastic and childlike as we let it.
“I’m not lost for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” -Milne

My parent’s home in Colton is a dream. Every time I return I stand at the window and look out at the green forest trees. I walk out into the rolling hills and let my fingers touch the uneven grass, and know I could never really be alone. Just like here, traveling so far away, I also find a home, past my mind, my soul, to all these different places. It's the reason I write this blog, and in some grander way A.A. Milne did it too. It's a gift for my girls, to know and read when they are older. A legacy, so that they will know they were, nor ever will be, alone.

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