In the last two days, the Seattle area has been hit by snow and then a blast of arctic cold that shut down most of Western Washington. On Monday evening, the usual 45 minute – 1 hour bus commute for my husband took 5 hours, and he ended up getting off the bus that wasn’t going anywhere and walking the last 5 miles home in the icy cold. He was prepared for the walk, since it has happened once before, a few years ago. And he kept calling me, so I knew where he was and what he was doing, although I was powerless to help out. So, needless to say, we have been home for these two days before Thanksgiving, and have enjoyed our unexpected Snow Days!
This fall has been the busiest of my teaching career. All the new duties and expectations imposed on the elementary teachers by my school district have taken a toll on my time and energy, and ultimately on my reading time. The only books I’ve finished in the last 3 months, have been my Read Alouds to my second graders!
So, I have spent much of this gift of time reading, and there’s nothing more healing to my tired mind and self than some quiet reading time and a cup of tea.
This book was called Dead Man’s Plack and An Old Thorn, and contained two long stories, both of which completely transported me to long-ago England, because Mr. Hudson was such an extraordinary storyteller.
Joseph Conrad, a fellow writer who had the highest admiration for Hudson’s abilities and style, eloquently described Hudson’s writing as:
…writing so simple and yet so charged with the beauty and wonder of life, as artlessly “atmospheric” as the atmosphere itself, indivisible and incalculable as an element. A page of one of his books is like a draught of Spring water, in which we feel we are drinking the crystal quintessence of the deep heavens and the green earth.
It’s no wonder, then, that reading this little book ‘quenched a thirst’ I had for reading something beautiful, and was a soothing antidote to such a stressful stretch of time.
- Conrad’s words about Hudson’s writing are described more fully in a 1922 NY Times book review written by Richard La Gallienne. You can read it here.
- Dead Man’s Plack and An Old Thorn can be downloaded as an ebook from Project Gutenberg.