When you go with Mary into the garden for the first time, the Magic or ‘Big Good Thing’ envelopes you and you, too, feel as if you might live forever. The kisses Mary bestows on the clump of crocus she finds, the strength she and Colin gain from digging and playing in the dirt, and the laughter they stifle as they gain life all combine to build up to the almost impossible conclusion of Colin racing through the garden door to meet his father.
I love to read this book outside. My book (as you can see from the photo) is old. When I open the pages there is that old book scent that combines with spring and brings me to Yorkshire and the 1900’s. When Colin has Mary to open his window when she tells him spring has come, I can look around my own garden and see dozens of trumpets glowing in the sun broadcasting it has arrived. There are buttons of bright dandelions pinning the grasses to the earth and the birds and bees are moving at a good clip, trying to keep pace with the season.
I can see weeds that need pulled and imagine my hands as the delicate white fingers of the children as they learn and grow strong. I smell the violets hiding in my lawn and wonder if they had any in their secret space. I listen to the birds and look around to see if we have any robins seeking homes near our tall wooden fence this year.
This book is a lesson in gardening, in growing up, and in making yourself a better person. One that makes you want to stretch out on the ground in the grass to watch lady bugs and plant roses.