The Tao of Pooh
I was lucky as a lad. My father read to me every bedtime. By the time I was four I could read aloud myself although I can remember mispronouncing “gnaw” in the The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse by Thornton W. Burgess as “g-naw” with a hard “g” rather than silent. But of all the books that I read in my young life, I would put A. A. Milne’s work at the top of the list for lyrics and characters.
Who else could write a poem about a boy called “James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree who took great care of his mother though he was only three.” Or “They’re changing guard at Buckingham Palace. Christopher Robin went down with Alice. We saw a guard in a sentry-box. One of the sergeants looks after their socks, says Alice.”
All those memories came flooding back while watching Christopher Robin, a new movie in summer release. Ewan McGregor plays a grown-up Christopher Robin who is so trapped by his work that he has forgotten the real meaning of life. The inhabitants of the 100-acre wood, Eeyore, Piglet, Owl and the rest, guide him back to what matters: friends and family. Sound schmaltzy, I know, but it works.
Among all the characters, Winnie-the-Pooh has a philosophy that is both simple and insightful. “People say ‘nothing is impossible,’ but I do nothing every day.” And, “Doing nothing often leads to the very best of something.” Best of all, “Today is my favourite day. Yesterday, when it was tomorrow, it was too much day for me.”
One piece of advice. Go to the movie with a young person. Their laughter will tune you into what you’re missing and get you giggling so you think you can be six for ever and ever.