Posted by: hopeofanotherworld | March 2, 2010

The 50 Greatest Novels Ever Written, as compiled from multiple lists

A while ago I decided I wanted to read some of the “best books ever written” but upon researching the topic further, I discovered there were multiple lists and I was unsure which one to follow. So, I decided to chose five of the lists and draw from them the books for my own list. My qualifications were that they appear on 3 of the 5 lists but this only left me with 33 books and if I were to change my qualifications to 2 lists instead of 3, this left me with more than 50 but less than 100. I knew people would more likely search for the “50 greatest novels”  rather than some obscure number, so I somewhat subjectively chose 17 books from the lists to make an even 50. I feel justified in doing this because I plan to read all of these books and I am sure I will need some “breather books” through which I can recover from reading a few of the monster books which made it onto the list. I have no doubt the “monsters” have literary merit but some of them are long and old and though I am a lover of reading, I am not literary scholar. I also was not an English major, so my book reviews/critiques which I write are going to be based on my personal opinion rather than on literary systems, formulas, styles, and what not.

The lists I drew from are: Radcliffe Publishing Course List, Modern Library’s List (they have a board’s list and a reader’s list, so two of my lists are from here), BBC’s List (Britain’s best-loved novels), and “100 best works of fiction…as determined from a vote by 100 noted writers from 54 countries.”

Without further ado, here is the list. Oh, the number beside the author’s name indicates how many lists the book appeared in and other than that they are in no particular order.

    1. Ulysses by James Joyce this is the only book to make it onto all 5 lists
    2. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf 4
    3. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller 4
    4. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner 4
    5. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh 4
    6. Lord Of The Flies by William Golding 4
    7. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley 4
    8. The Grapes Of Wrath by John Steinbeck 4
    9. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison 4
    10. On the Road by Jack Kerouac 4
    11. Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov 4
    12. 1984 by George Orwell 4
    13. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald 4
    14. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger 3
    15. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 3
    16. Beloved by Toni Morrison 3
    17. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce 3
    18. Animal Farm by George Orwell 3
    19. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway 3
    20. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner 3
    21. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway 3
    22. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad 3
    23. The Magus by John Fowles 3
    24. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell 3
    25. The Call of the Wild by Jack London 3
    26. Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien 3
    27. Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence 3
    28. Light in August by William Faulkner 3
    29. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams 3
    30. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller 3
    31. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie 3
    32. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner 3
    33. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess 3

    The rest are ones that I choose which only appear on one or two of the lists:

    1. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne (from BBC’s list and Radcliffe’s Publishing List)
    2. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (Modern Library’s reader’s list and the Radcliffe’s Publishing Course)
    3. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (Radcliffe’s and Writer’s List)
    4. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (from BBC’s list and Radcliffe’s Publishing Course)
    5. Dune by Frank Herbert (from BBC’s list and Modern Library’s Reader’s List)
    6. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey (Radcliffe’s Publishing Course and Modern Library’s Reader’s List)
    7. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (Radcliffe’s and Modern’s Reader’s List)
    8. Watership Down by Richard Adams (BBC’s list and Modern Library’s Reader’s List)
    9. The Count Of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (from BBC’s list)
    10. Swallows And Amazons by Arthur Ransome (from BBC’s list)
    11. Anne Of Green Gables by LM Montgomery (from BBC’s list)
    12. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
    13. Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock (from Modern Library’s Reader’s List)
    14. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (from BBC’s list)
    15. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (from BBC’s list)
    16. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy (from BBC’s list)
    17. And to make it an even 50, a book from my favorite series, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (from BBC’s list).

        I am not going to try and read through these in a year, because a few of them are a thousand pages long and some are just difficult to read; but I do make it through a decent amount of books per year, so check back if you want to hear my opinions of them as I go.

        Right now I am almost finished with Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. So far it has been quite enjoyable.

        Also, if you enjoy art and photography as well as reading, be sure to check out my photography site which is in the right hand column.

        I hope this list helped you chose some amazing books. 🙂

        Posted by: hopeofanotherworld | March 14, 2009

        Here’s the thought I’m giving for the Lord’s Supper tomorrow

        When I am thinking and praying as I take the Lord’s Supper each week I do not always just think about Christ’s death and resurrection; but also sometimes think of the life he lived and remember the fact that he did live a life in the flesh on this earth.  

                    We serve an Almighty God and, though he knows everything, sometimes, when we are suffering, we may be tempted to think he does not know what we are going through and that he cannot know how we feel because he has never experienced it.  But as well as coming to earth for the obvious reason to save us, I also think Christ lived a life in the flesh for this reason, so that when we cry to him and say God cannot not know how we feel, he can whisper gently back to us that he does, for he has felt it, too. 

                    While on this earth Christ actually dwelt among us, the Son of God lived day by day feeling sometimes hungry and sometimes cold, feeling the hard ground beneath his back as he slept in the wilderness and the warmth of the sun on his face in the morning.  And he did not live in a palace while here, being served by humanity, but was born to a somewhat poor family and continued to live in poverty his whole life, even when he could have charged so much money for the thousands of people he healed. 

                    While Christ was here he was tempted and tried; he was doubted and ridiculed by the very ones he loved; he was made fun of and called names which where lies; he was shunned and rejected by the very nation of people who should have recognized him as their Savior; and then, then the most innocent man to have ever walked the earth was beaten because of jealously and died a lawbreaker’s death because he was hated by those who claimed to serve his Father most faithfully. 

                    The most pure Being to ever walk the earth took the sin and filth of those hypocrites upon himself, he took our guilt and failings upon himself.  And as Paul says in 2 Corinthians, he who had no sin became sin for us.  We serve a God who was not only willing to die to save us but was also willing to live to save us, to dwell among us for a time so that by seeing Christ and his actions, we might see the Father.  So that through seeing Christ’ blood, sweat, and tears and hearing his words of love we could see the kind of God we serve and the type of God we are loved by.  Finally, he lived here in the flesh so that we may look at his life and see how God wishes for us to live and love and strive to serve him. 

        Posted by: hopeofanotherworld | February 14, 2009

        Music, it can touch the soul

        I know music doesn’t effect everyone in the same way and of those of us who it does it effect, we are effected by different sound and songs.  Music amazing me, it amazes me how it can get “under your skin,”  how you can sometimes not just hear it but also feel it and not because it’s loud (though sometimes that in itself is a pleasure).  Some songs make my skin tingle and I have a huge since of peace, pleasure, and happiness.  I don’t understand it but I am thankful for it, thankful to God for giving us creativity and for musicians who share their souls through song.

        I was just washing a cup that I had drunk tea out of, I have kind of adopted it and another of the exact kind since I have been here.  I didn’t know how obvious this was until one day I got another cup, the house manager saw me and then opened the cabinet to show me “my cup” was up there and I could use it.  Now, I don’t love that cup but as I was washing it, it put me in mind of some things I do cherish and things that others cherish.  Perhaps it happens more in children’s lives and some of us somewhat lose this habit as we go along but when we are young almost all of us have a favorite something.  Most often nothing makes these objects in and of themselves special, if a stranger where to find it on the ground, they most often would not think they had found a treasure but rather would probably throw the thing away.  An old stuffed animal with matted fur, a blanket so “used” (or loved) only scraps are left, these are often the types of things children treasure above all there other possessions (though some of them may not openly admit it).  These things are by no means treasures in themselves, they are treasures because of the love bestowed upon them; they are often ugly to strangers eyes, but to the one to whom they belong they are one of the loveliest things in the world and are irreplaceable.  This is what we become when we give ourselves to be loved by God, the world may just see us as just another being among billions more, to be trampled or ignored, but God loves you!  No matter how well we love some old thing, our love cannot truly make that thing more beautiful or perfect.  Not so with God, with him it is another story, he has the power of the worlds in his fingertips, and beauties more beautiful than a thousand sunsets waiting to be bestowed into our very beings.  Our love for things and people make them beautiful in our eyes; but God’s love for us will one day make us into a creature so beautiful and perfect that, were we to see it now, we would be tempted to fall before it in worship and awe.  

        Posted by: hopeofanotherworld | February 10, 2009

        God’s Hope in Man

        I wrote this on my computer and forgot to edit it on there, I’m too cold to do it out here, so sorry if it does not read well or if there is an error.

        I have written a post like this in the past which contained some of the same ideas but I hope to expand a little bit on them.  I have been reading “More Than a Carpenter” by Josh McDowell and I suppose something contained within the book brought these thoughts back to mind but I am not sure what in the book was responsible. 

                    I know “the Lamb was slain since the foundations of the world” but it still seems that, though God knew man could never fully make it on his own, he expected us and keeps expecting us to do better than we have done and better than we will probably do.  I have heard people say, and also have gleaned this idea myself from the Old Testament, that Israel was God’s chosen people but also they went meant to bring other people into this God’s People.  They were meant to be a Lighthouse in the world to shine God’s light and bring other people’s to him.  I am not aware of how many “God fearers” and converts to Judaism there were throughout the ages, but from how prejudiced the Jewish people appear in the early parts of the New Testament I think it is safe to say they somewhat failed in being a lighthouse to the world.  I think God hoped more of them, though he knew how things would go.

                    I wonder if now God looks at us, his followers and mourns the fact so many of his hopes have not come to be.  He knew how it would be but I can’t help thinking he “hoped against hope” things would be better than they are; that his Children would rise to occasion on all occasions, would grasp at every opportunity to show our appreciation for his love by showing love to others, and would open out arms wide in giving to show our thanks that he has given us so much.  I am not judging everyone, for  I personally know some believers who are giving much of themselves in their efforts to show God’s love, but so many times we do not give our second cloak, so many times we neglect to feed the hungry for some silly reason, so often we sit by while there is work we could be doing.  Christ gave us the power to move mountains for the sake of his cause of showing God unending love and yet instead of moving mountains, we often do not stir a finger to someone in need.

                    God expected us to be his mouth, his hands and feet, to be his ambassadors to the world.  He hopes so much we would rise to the occasion and realize what an honor he is attempting to give us, how much faith he has in us to “do him proud.”  God knows we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, so let us try not to let him down.

                    I will briefly say some more positive things.  Thank you you thousands and millions of kindhearted, hardworking souls, thank you for so often rising to the occasion and making your Father proud by being the means by which he has blessed and saved millions of people’s lives.  Thank you for the example you have set for us and also for all the good you have done in secret which only God and the one receiving it knows of.  Thank you for fulfilling your calling and being a Lighthouse to the world, for causing eyes to be drawn to the good you have accomplished and so causing eyes and thanks to be lifted u to heaven.

                    Thank you, God, for believing so much in us and giving us the honor of bearing your name, your love, and allowing us to often be the means by which you bless this wonderful, dreadful place in which we live.  Thank you for having hope in us and the good we can do, even when we have lost hope in ourselves.  Thank you for not giving up on us; please help us to not give up on ourselves but to remember we have the power which created the universe at our back, just waiting to help us accomplish all that which you mean for us to accomplish.  Thank you for your love and being willing to entrust it to just feeble, twisted beings.  Thank you for being our strength and for untwisting our  souls when we allow you to and that we will one day have a new body that is not wasted from years of sin.  Thank you for your Son; his willingness to live a life in flesh, then to die a horrid death, and for raising him up that we might have the assurance we, too, will one day be raised.       

        Posted by: hopeofanotherworld | February 9, 2009

        I’m just not sure you would understand…

        I was riding in the car with Tonya (the administator of the TLC where I’m living/working in Ukraine) to the orphanage we were going to visit and I had some things I wanted to say but I just didn’t think she would understand the sentiment behind them (neither would many Americans, nationality wasn’t the issue).  We stopped at a gas station and a dog came over and looked me in the eyes for a while and I almost said to Tonya, “That dog has very kind eyes;” even though it was skinny and kind of ragged you could tell by it’s eyes that it was probably quite friendly.  Later on I was noticing the trees along the road and I felt like saying, “The trees look sad.”  A whole lot of them seemed to trying to grow towards the ground instead of towards the sky even though they were hardwoods that were not willows.  Even the trees branches, though at the truck it looked like they were trying to grow up, then tired to curve towards the ground…they looked kind of like they were once happy and were now mourning.  I also have 10 spiders in my bathroom that I do not want to kill, I also check on most of them because their interesting and glare at the ones right by the door (I would rather they be on the ceiling will all the others).  Anyway, that is a glimpse into some of my insides and how I think.

        Posted by: hopeofanotherworld | January 25, 2009

        People there and people here, people everywhere

        People, it seems are, well, people, no matter where you are.  It may be a somewhat different culture here in Ukraine and the spoken language may be different but I guess people as a whole are, in some basic ways, the same wherever you may go.  Teens will still be teens; boys will still be boys and tease/be “mean” to those they like and girls will act like they hate it while actually encouraging it (a boy took a girl’s hair clip and she then spent the next half hour chasing and fighting with the boy to get it back).  A room full of people in a comfortable situation also seems to be somewhat the same wherever you may find yourself.  At church last night there was the girl who we all know who is silly, embarrasses herself by talking/giggling too much, acts like she hates the attention and then does something silly a few seconds later to start the whole thing over again.  There was the boy who was goofy and could make everyone laugh (especially that certain silly girl) and was comfortable being, well, goofy.  There are still shy people and outgoing people, serious ones and not so serious ones.  I suppose it is a great comfort to realize, to an extent, you can know what to expect in our human family.  I am also thankful we are not the same in every respect, that the goofy boy and the silly girl are like no other ones of those “types” I have ever met before.

        Onto a somewhat different train of thought.  I was reading Anne of Green Gables and a few times Anne knew even before she actually met certain people that those people would be her friends.  I was thinking that I wish that would really happen because it would make things easier.  I forget though, that she also had those people with whom she first thought she would never be friends with, (like Mrs. Rachel) but later became friends after all, though perhaps not “bosom friends.”  After thinking about it, there are those people whom I seemingly like instinctively and, if given opportunities, they do normally become good friends.  There are two girls at the “TLC” (transitional living center) who I just seem to like, even though they have been less, hmm, “friendly” is the wrong word but, well, they’re shy.   The same with the boys, the two youngest are very shy but I think by the time I leave they will be the closest to me.  The youngest one left an orange on the table for me, though he didn’t even try to tell me he had left it there for me (it sat on the table almost all day until the administrator finally told me I was intended to have it and who had given it).  Also, his older brother, once I got to church, got enough courage to lead me to where he was sitting so I could sit with him (on the very front row).  I guess I am always somewhat drawn to the more shy and quiet people “right off the bat,” I suppose it is because I can understand their quietness.  Perhaps this is unfair to compare people to pets but, after all, I have a very great love for pets, but with pets I am somewhat the same way; if someone has an “outgoing” pet and a “shy” pet, I try to make friends with the shy one more than the outgoing one.  Maybe I like the challenge.  Also, often shy people/animals have a particular kind of sweetness to them.  I am afraid I have to leave it at that, because I have no idea how to describe what I mean.

        To my outgoing friends, you know I love you dearly and shy people are not always my favorite…it’s just, if I am to be honest, at first you outgoing ones may have intimidated me a little and shy people do not/perhaps cannot do that.

        Love to all and God’s blessings,

        Jared

        Posted by: hopeofanotherworld | December 4, 2008

        Thankful

        So, I didn’t come out with this on Thanksgiving…I’m not very good with dates and besides my family even had Thanksgiving on the “wrong” day.

        I’m thankful that I have parents who support me in my decisions, even when I say I’m going to do one thing for 5 years (become a psychologist and work with girls who have eating disorders) and then turn around, after all that time, and say I want to do something else (travel the world and serve).  I’m thankful I have parents who pray for me everyday.  I’m thankful I have a mom who tries to keep in touch with me even though I’m horrible at staying in touch.  I’m thankful that I have siblings who love me and that one of them has found a spouse we loves all of us in the family (even though we’re a little weird).  I’m thankful for my beautiful, adorable niece and that she can/is learning so many new things.

        I’m thankful for Shelby and Matt Reed and that they remain my friends and think a lot of me even though they know some of my darkest secrets.  I’m thankful for Aaron Brown and that he wants me and Shelby and Matt and everybody to be the best person and Christian we can be.  I’m thankful for how goofy those three guys can sometimes be and that they help remind me that it’s okay to have fun and to not take life too seriously.

        I’m thankful for my friends Hali and Katie and that they both stayed friends and eventually became even better friends even after I tried to date them. 🙂  I’m thankful that they were honest with me so I could move on and become good friends with them.  I am thankful for them and Megan because, frankly, I get along really well with girls and I just don’t feel right if I don’t hang out with girls every once in a while…or more like fairly often. 🙂  I’m thankful they each give me more respect and think a lot more of me than I deserve and that when I stop to appreciate that, it causes me to want to be better than I am.  I’m thankful God blessed Megan with a wonderful spouse with whom I get along and that he is a great guy.

        I’m thankful I get along with the guys I’m living with and that one of them puts up with our bugging him all the time.

        I’m thankful for the other friends I have as well, even though I’m not that great at hanging out or keeping in touch with them.

        I’m thankful God made nature unnecessarily beautiful, that he loves us so much he would do that and that he is such an artist that he cares about such things.  (I’m thankful for the word “that” because I use it a lot, oftentimes too much.)  I’m thankful I have a camera with which I can capture that beauty and share it with others.

        I’m thankful God’s not through with me yet, that he loves me enough to want me to change and gave his Son to cover that which I cannot ever change.  I’m thankful he is such a God that he would use such a one as I and hase blessed me with the opportunity to go serve him in Ukraine.  I’m thankful for all the prayers going up for me concerning my upcoming trip and for the support that had come in and will continue to come in.

        Now to end with some more lowly things.  I am thankful I have a car that mostly works, even though I don’t take good care of it; I’m very thankful for books and for the minds who can take me to other worlds or reveal things about the one we live in; I’m thankful for movies and that some of them are entertaining and the friends I have to watch them with.

        I’m sure I could go on and I know I left things out but I will end it now.  Okay, not quite yet, one last thing:  I am thankful we serve a God who listens to our prayers and who loves us well enough to someday take us Home to a place where we will be made to understand all the things we here cannot comprehend and that there we’ll realize God made it all, somehow, work for the ultimate good.

        I have heard many Christians worry about our country and the path it seems to be going down, worry about the government and what it may do to religion (and Christianity in particular) in the future.  First, I will say a simple, pat statement; do not worry about the Church too much, it is not ours, it is God’s and he will not let it fall.  By saying that I do not mean bad things will not happen and that we will not be persecuted but that, if the Church is what we think it is, it will continue no matter what man’s and satan’s evil plans may be.

        Now for the hope.  People speak of our government someday being against the Church as a horrid thing, and I used to think, when that day comes, I will simply run away to another place where I can live in peace.  But after having thought about it some more, I have realized some things.  The day we begin to be heavily persecuted in this place is going to be an exciting time, hmm, maybe that it not the write word, it is going to be an eventful time and growing time for the Church.  For a while the Church may decrease and not grow in numbers but, at the same time, faith is going to be growing in those whom are sincere.  It will be a time of sorting, sorting out those who are willing to die for their faith and truly willing go live in and for their faith.  We will be able to taste our faith, to feel it, and see it for it will truly be our strength and hope.  God will be more our Father because it is He who we will have to run to for comfort and strength and peace.  Heaven will be all the more closer, for it may reside just around the corner.

        There have been times in the past when I have prayed, almost begged, for a physical evil to fight instead of the quiet whispers of evil which sneak around my head; I have been envious of Caspian and the dangers he faced, for he actually could face them, he could look them in the face and know what it is he is fighting.  If things get bad it would not be as in those books, we would not take up the sword and face our enemies, but our physical and spiritual worlds would more closely collide and in so doing make our faith more tangible (I am sorry but sometimes my faith seems so distant).

        I have a hard time thinking such a “horrid” future as horrid because, if we allow it, it could be a time of major unification in the Church.  I think we would have a harder time judging a fellow Christian who may be a little different from us, when we look them in the eyes and see their willingness to die for their faith.  In having a terrible common enemy against us, I think we would better remember who our brothers and sisters are.  I am not saying there would no longer be differences, but that we would perhaps, hopefully, learn to more peacefully get along and love each other despite those differences.  Hmm, in these days I have a couple things that are accepted by some in the Church that I would have a very hard time condoning, for I believe in Absolute Truth and that the Bible is very clear on a few things man has tried to make blurry, but that is for another time and another post, if I have the courage enough to ever write it.

        I said the Church may decrease in numbers for awhile, because many or some may leave or forsake the Church, but, after a while, even while the persecution is still going on, it will grow.  Look and remember how the Church grew in the New Testament while terrible things were going on, think of those places even today where the Church is growing despite persecution.

        I spoke earlier of my maybe running as if it would be a bad thing, and it would be a bad thing if we all ran and forsook this country, but we can also look at it as spreading.  Christians left certain places in the New Testament times to escape persecution, but they did not leave their Christianity behind, they took it with them and spread it to the whole world.  One could think of it as a somewhat forced mass missionary movement.

        I think I have shared enough of my crazy thoughts.  I will just say, yes, it is sad our country may fall into disarray and evil but “the Son also rises” and will continue to rise until the end of time.  With our help God will take care of the Truth and His Message and no matter how opposed and oppressed it may be, the Church will go on and He will even cause it to be stronger because of it.

        God be with us all, may he give us the faith and strength and courage to face tomorrow, whatever it may bring.

        Posted by: hopeofanotherworld | October 6, 2008

        The life of a Harding tree

        I remember, when I was very young, there was a forest around me.  There were other trees like me, others bigger, and more of different kinds.  Then man decided to clear the forest, many were felled but I was lucky or cursed to stay (one can look at it one way or another).  A few other trees were left as well but they were so far away that I could not hear their voices in a breeze but only in a strong wind.  I grew, the other few grew, and man caused things to grow around me.  A little school was born and I was there at its birth.  Young women began to walk to and fro beneath my branches, many did not stop for long because my shade was not yet very much, but I heard pieces of their conversations, saw bits of their lives unfold.  Though I still missed my kin, I began to love these gentle beings, who, though they were so small tried to live such big lives and were never content to stay in one place for long.  I grew and the school began to change, there were more teachers and with some of them came children.  The children would climb in my branches, I would hold them safe and firm and gently rock them in the breeze.  So much laughter and energy, so much going on that was a little bit of a consolation when I saw more of my kin fall.  They fell but I stayed, I was a bit lonely but I knew the felling meant more buildings would grow up, more young people would come, and I would get to be a small part of their lives.

        Young men began to come to the college, they were not so gentle, and the college had changed its name.  I was now big enough that my shade was sought and sometimes my shelter was briefly used during times of storm.  Men and women sat in my shade, lovers and friends.  Sometimes still, boys would climb, but not nearly as often as my younger days because I was growing too big.  Years and years, drifting by, my leaves growing and falling, my roots spreading until they, at last, entertwine with a few of the kin I have left around me.

        Now I am tall and man has cut my lower branches, so children cannot climb me; but my trunk is large and my roots are thick so sometimes people lean their backs against me or lie craddled in my roots.  I have heard a thousand conversations, between friends and lovers, between man and God.  I have seen millions of smiles; smiles addressed to friends, people smiling to themselves, or smiles aimed at the One above.  I have been watered by tears and have wept for the disapointments of the ones who lie beneath me, I have comforted with the soft whispers of my branches; I have been warmed by joy and shivered with delight at some of the memories that were made in the shelter of my branches.

        Through the years there have been little beings who have laid claim to me and called me their tree, though, they come and go so quickly that, if anything, I suppose I really belong to the earth who holds me or the squirrels who live their entire lives in my branches.  I do not mind being claimed by the little ones, it makes me special to them and also makes me feel special.  I see some of them from time to time, some of the ones who have claimed me in the past, when they come back to visit this place.  They change so much, so fast, I think they change so quickly because they are so often moving, so often in a hurry and do not put roots down anywhere.

        I saw a boy almost six years ago, for awhile he would sit under different trees but it wasn’t long before he began to most often come to me and he soon started to called me his tree.  He has taken naps lying between my roots, has eaten alone and brought friends to eat with him, he has smiled and come close to weeping while he sat in my shelter.   He has listened to my voice and has tried to tell some of my story, though, since he has not put down roots, has not lifted his arms to the sky in years of praise to our Maker, has not had pieces of himself cut away by ragged teeth, he cannot tell my story too well.  He told it too quickly…so like those little beings.

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