“They are the days of a long time ago, Laura,” Pa said. “Go to sleep, now.”
But Laura lay awake a little while, listening to Pa’s fiddle softly playing and to the lonely sound of the wind in the Big Woods. She looked at Pa sitting on the bench by the hearth, the firelight gleaming on his brown hair and beard and glistening on the honey-brown fiddle. She looked at Ma, gently rocking and knitting.
She thought to herself, “This is now.”
She was glad that the cosy house, and Pa and Ma and the firelight and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago.
– Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods (last paragraphs)
This is one of my favorite passages in all of literature. I think of it often, especially when I come home after a trip. “This is now.“
I was just away for ten days for my book tour — which may be the longest time I’ve been away from my family at a single stretch. I’m home for the weekend, then I leave again.
It’s a good example of how habits affect us: when I’m home, I take all the little things for granted, but when I come home after a trip, I feel everything keenly, for a time.
While I was traveling, my older daughter had a birthday and my younger daughter got a retainer. I love getting the chance to talk to readers, but I do miss being home. Nothing happens, and everything happens. The days are long, but the years are short. (Of everything I’ve ever written, I think this one-minute video resonates most with people.)
Does some passage from literature, or some song, or something else, remind you of home? A friend says that every time he returns from a trip, he thinks of the scene from The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy is repeating, “There’s no place like home.”
This month, the Well blog of the New York Times picked Better Than Before for its book club. I really enjoyed doing this interview with Tara Parker-Pope. Over the next few weeks, you can join the discussion here.