It is cold just outside my window, but not frigid. Snow falls gently at an angle, nudged by the breeze. How wonderful it is to be warm, free from pain, well fed, and relatively safe on such a day. Although winter has not given up on us yet, spring is just weeks away, and will soon assert her rites of passage. Quiet days such as these allow for contemplation.
There is something very special about James Herriot, and luckily for the world, he chose to share that by writing about his life and experiences. If you look at pictures of his face, you can see kindness emanating from his being. That such people existed is the height of human achievement.
I first opened up a Jame’s Herriot book when confined to bed at the beginning of my third pregnancy. Having miscarried my second pregnancy, and running into early and similar signs and signals with the third. I was not taking any chances. The doctor told me there was little hope of seeing the pregnancy to term, and felt the baby was not “viable”. Well, his exact words were, “the fetus is not viable”. “Says you, my BABY is going to get every chance I can give him/her!” was my internal response, and I remained horizontal through the entire pregnancy, and thus avoided another miscarriage despite some serious scares. Terra was worth every single minute I spent alone and prone through those long eight months (she was born two weeks after her due date!).
Being alone so much during the day when the rest of the family was at work, school or out socializing, I took to reading. I had always loved reading. I will say though, that lying flat on your back holding a book over your head is hard work.
I wanted to keep my spirits up, and James Herriot’s books helped me do just that. His quiet respect for life, his humour, his patience, made it much easier to hold on to hope for my child. When I think of his stories I tear up, his books were such a comfort and good companions to me during those very lonely and frightening days.
In later years Attila and I had VHS tapes of some of the episodes for the television series, All Creatures Great and Small. Of course we no longer have a player to play the tapes, so they were donated to the local charity shop after we moved into tiny Mist Cottage. The series is wonderful, and it took a long time to watch even one episode, because I would become so relaxed and lulled by the kind spirited story that I would drop off to sleep. Each episode took a couple of viewings to see it from the beginning to the end.
Another set of books I read during that time were those of the Forsyte Saga, by John Galsworthy. Although very different in tone from the warmth and kindness that shone from James Herriot’s books, they were quite amusing, very close to the bone of human passions and foibles.
Well there, all these memories were entertained as a result of a video shared on social media about James Herriot. Such a pleasure to revisit this part of my past, as the ending of this short story was so very happy, as Terra was born a perfect blue-eyed little miracle.
Fri, Feb 19, 2:35 PM
FEELS LIKE -9
Wind 9 N km/h
Humidity 82 %
Visibility 2.8 km
Sunrise 7:01 AM
Wind gust 13 km/h
Pressure 102.1 kPa
Ceiling 300 m
Sunset 5:42 PM
“Gratitude is the memory of the heart.”