I have just finished watching “Goodbye Christopher Robin” on Sky Movies. A very touching movie, it tells the story of how A. A. Milne’s relationship with his son led to the Winnie the Pooh series of successful books. The tales of Pooh, Tigger, Eyeore et al, came from the imaginary world that father and son created in the woods near to their home.
I remember how enjoyable, and bonding, playing imaginary roles was with Ryan. Cowboys and Indians out in the forest, using the sofa in the living room as a pirate ship surrounded by sharks, turning a huge cardboard box into a fort: happy days for Ryan, and me (I’m just a big kid at heart).
We also had some great times just out and about enjoying the fresh air, and taking in the sights and sounds of the surrounding environment. In C. R. Milne’s autobiography he tells us how important the Great Outdoors was to him.
Growing up, Christopher Robin became famous at a very young age as a consequence of his father’s books, but was subjected to teasing and bullying at boarding school, mainly on the basis of his inclusion in his father’s stories.
A challenging upbringing, but throughout his life he found solace in the natural world around him. In his memoirs he wrote: “I found courage in the countryside, in nature. Being alone never frightened me, even at night, provided I was in contact with my surroundings – with the grass underfoot, with the dim shapes of trees and distant mountains. This was what I clung to.”
In our modern, technological, fast-paced world the open air is a fantastic way to detach, just for an hour or so, from mobile phones, social media and the television to spend some quality time with those you love.
Take in the colours, shapes and rustling of trees. The glinting, shimmering, babbling of a river. The foaming, racing, crashing of the waves breaking on the shoreline. The softness of sand underfoot as it moulds around your foot. The smell of flowers, the buzzing of bees, and sun rebounding off vibrant petals as you pass through a garden.
Good for the soul, calming the mind, relaxing the body, slowing the breathing and loaded with opportunities to lose yourself in an imaginary world.
Pull on your Big Boots, get out of the house, and prepare yourself for an adventure.
“Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.” Winnie the Pooh.