A powerful recall of childhood memories regarding the names of plants, the homes of toads, the awakening of birds and the smell of both seasons and trees. A surprisingly gentle recollection in a book which has plenty of violence.
I started learning the names of plants in a less osmotic fashion in late adulthood, and always wished I had been taught systematically as a child. Each new name, and the stronger memory of the plant it gives me, expands my universe.
I remember my childhood names for grasses and secret flowers. I remember where a toad may live and what time the birds awaken in the summer – and what trees and seasons smelled like.
See two other exhilarating descriptions of beauty from the same book, one of the lushness brought by abundant rain, the other an orange poppy carpet.
Source: John Steinbeck, East of Eden (London: Penguin Classics, 2000), p. 7
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