I fell in love with the writings of Robert Louis Stevenson
when I was still in elementary school.
My aunt had given my brother A Child's Garden of Verses,
a collection of Stevenson's poetry first published in 1885,
and I read it cover to cover.
His poems seemed to easily capture childhood exuberance.
In "The Swing":
How do you like to go up in a swing
Up in the air so blue
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do.
In another rhyme, he wrote:
The world is so full of a number of things
I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings.
But today, with my husband and I both down with the flu,
Stevenson's poem "Land of Counterpane" has come to mind:
When I was sick and lay a-bed
I had two pillows at my head
And all my toys beside me lay
to keep me happy all the day ... .
I was the giant great and still
that sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.
Starting out the new year sick in bed isn't what I had in mind.
But when at the lowest,
up is the only direction left.