Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Secret Garden

A thistle cannot grow.
~The Secret Garden, Ch. 27

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that the Princess had been reading The Secret Garden. Today, with the Princess in sniffles, we finished. Then we watched the movie made in 1993 I had just bought last week, to talk about the comparisons between the two. I must say that the movie portrayed Mrs. Medlock as a harsher woman and it is a shame that there was no Mrs. Sowerby, as she was one of the characters I would have enjoyed seeing portrayed on the big screen. Ah, well.

The DVD was a double feature coupled with the 1995 version of A Little Princess. We read A Little Princess last summer when we stayed in Florida to help my husband's parents, so we watched that movie a few days ago and talked about the differences between the book and movie versions.

We also talked about the similarities and differences between The Secret Garden and A Little Princess today. The most obvious of the similarities were that in both the main characters were young girls who had lived in India and lost their parents. (Of course, in the movie version of A Little Princess, the father lived, but was believed to be dead.) The differences were the girls' temperaments, how they were treated and treated others.

I am hoping, like Mary of The Secret Garden witnessing Colin's behavior, my Princess will see others acting badly, as she can do at times, as encouragement to modify her behavior on her own. In so doing, I am tending my little rose to keep the thistles from growing.

Speaking of gardens...while The Secret Garden has a moving ending, most of my daughter's previously mentioned sniffles were likely due to pollen. The pollen count has been well over 1,000 for a few days lately; an extremely high count is anything over 120. When we first moved to Georgia, I was delighted with the explosion of autumn colors, which make it my favorite of the seasons. (It might not be quite as brilliant as a bit further north, but certainly more a more vivid variety compared the sun-bleached vegetation of middle Florida.) However, spring time in Georgia, I did not expect. It leaves me breathless, in more ways than one. It seems that everything blooms, just everything—it would probably be a shorter list to name the things that do not bloom. With every lovely bright bloom comes a flurry of pollen.

The annual dusting can again be seen on everything outside. At a time when the temperatures are comfortable enough to open windows, it is healthier to keep them shut. The pollen we see covering everything is just heavier types, but I am told it is the invisible pollen remaining the air that is the problem. We all welcome the rains that cleanse the air and we have quite a bit lately, but during the last years of drought, the pollen count has gone to nearly 6,000 on some days.

Fortunately for me, I am blessed that I do not have allergies, but even those who don't have a bit more difficulty with breathing, sinus headaches, and general fatigue on such days with high amounts of pollen. My daughter mentioned a sore throat on Sunday and has been dealing with sniffles and sneezing since then, but it is not too bad. Some years ago, we installed an air purification system, mostly to help clear out the lungs of my husband, who worked in environments full of paper dust year after year. Still, just thirty minutes outside is all it takes for my daughter to have health and behavior difficulties for a couple of days--at least, I am hoping that is the reason my Little Princess had a touch of Mistress Mary, Quite Contrary today. I had to tend my little rose a bit today because of it.

Such is spring in the garden....

My Lord, please show me the best ways to tend my little rose so thistles can never grow in her temperament—even when we both are dealing with the effects of high pollen counts.


  1. And so much history to be discussed: the idea of *Empire*; why England was in India to start with; diseases like diptheria; the way children used to be raised. My kids don't like watching with me just because I will insist on discussing these things. lol.

  2. We did discuss cholera as that is what killed Mary's parents in the Secret Garden, however she already knew about it.

    As to England trying to make the whole world England, we have not gone into that much, but this lays a good foundation for her to connect the dots later on.


Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.