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.
Source: John Steinbeck, East of Eden (London: Penguin Classics, 2000), p. 7
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