“Sometimes,' said Pooh, 'the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.” (A. A. Milne)
I discovered Winnie the Pooh in college. One evening, after many hours of studying in the library, and fretting and trying to cram more into my brain than felt like could possibly fit, I stumbled downstairs to the children's section, sat myself down on the floor and pulled out the first book I could find, a heavy, hardcover thing, well-worn and loved, which happened to be The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh. From the moment I read the first page I was hooked. There was a whimsy and thoughtfulness, a sharp wit and a clever sort wink and nod to the stories that cleared my head, filled my heart with joy, and warmed my spirit. I checked the book out, read it cover to cover that night, and every night after until the library refused to let me check it out again. Reluctantly I returned it but immediately bought all of Milne's books and began amassing my collection of Pooh memorabilia, including the tattoo which adorns my left arm. It's not the toughest of tattoos, and certainly not the kind of thing I would care to put on display at a biker bar, but it's a reminder of the innocence and tenderness of childhood that I carry with me every day.
Duncan is no Pooh Bear; he's far too adventurous and care-free, but there is a purity to his spirit that reminds me of Pooh and his adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood. He is thoughtful and gentle, kind and brave and when I am with him, when we are walking alone in the park together, when the fields and sunshine are all ours and I can take him off his leash and let him wander where his heart desires, I feel like a child again, like we are on the verge of discovery, as though something magnificent is about to be revealed.
And when we come home, when the day is done and we have cuddled and played ourselves into sleepiness, when we have taken the last of our walks and night has pulled herself over the world like a blanket, we climb into our beds and sometimes, when we are lucky, we meet in our dreams and cuddle and play there, too.
And Pooh is never far away.
“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.” (A. A. Milne)