Many years later, Alice inspired my high school valediction:
"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don't much care where--" said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat (75).I hoped the text would inspire my fellow graduates to put more thought into their futures than Alice had and to plan their paths carefully. It went ok.
As an adult, I find myself referencing Lewis Carroll's great work more and more often:
“If everybody minded their own business, . . . the world would go around a deal faster than it does” (70).
“...we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad” (75).
"Now, here you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!" [Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass (Philadelphia: Henry Altemus, 1897), 50.].
The fantastic dream-like writings of a nineteenth-century author are surprisingly relevant to my life. Who doesn't feel as if the world is watching her, she is slipping into madness, and she can't catch up with her own life? How many times have I said to my editor in the last year, "I feel like Alice in Wonderland," referring to the publishing process alone?
|A hibiscus bloom the size of my head.|
This week I had the chance to spend three days in Wonderland. Not Lewis's Mad-Hatter Wonderland that is the now-frequent backdrop of my life, but Disney's "Golden Afternoon" Wonderland. In the last 10 years, my parents have turned their backyard into the most beautiful garden you've ever seen. Even in the Tennessee heat and humidity, there is always a breeze here. My mother's roses are breathtaking, my father's grass is perfectly manicured (actually, that's nothing new), the wind chimes are just the right tone, and a family of rabbits with parents the size of the Cheshire Cat lives there. It is colorful and inspiring. It's everything that I loved about Wonderland when I was a child.
|Guardian of the Garden: "Ya-hooty 2"|
I need to come back to Wonderland more often. It inspires me, obviously, but it also reminds me of my childhood and refreshes my spirit. When adult life makes me feel like disheveled Alice at the mad tea party, I want to be awe-struck Alice in the serene garden.