“…One can’t stay sad very long in such an interesting world, can one?” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables. The words of the headstrong and spunky orphan Anne have rung out to her countless readers since Canadian author Montgomery first published her international success of a novel in 1908. Not only did Anne’s delight over all things take over my imagination, but began my love affair with Prince Edward Island, both the setting of the Anne novels and the home of Lucy Maud Montgomery herself. Spending a week exploring PEI only reminded me of the renewing power of the natural world and its calming effects on one’s psyche.
“Oh, it’s delightful to have ambitions. I’m so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them– that’s the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting.”― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables. Encountering the novel either as a child or an adult reader, it matters not, one is lifted by Anne’s undying optimism and yearning. She’s life personified. As we crisscrossed the island it was only pure adventure we were after. Days of seeing and feeling and tasting and playing. We entered the world of fiction and took it on completely.
“Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive–it’s such an interesting world” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gable. Seekers. Perhaps some vacations are to sit still, but with Anne as our mental guide, this was indeed a holiday of exploration, both in visiting the very place Montgomery crafted her first Anne novel, and in walking the hillsides that inspired her to do so. Greens of every hue caught our eye, with rolling farms up and down every roadside. Big maples still stand. As do the multitude of potato farms and red sand beaches. Anne would be glad for that. She would love all the visitors she inspired too. How many, just like us, traveled so far, just to glimpse her world?
“Next to trying and winning, the best thing is trying and failing.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables. Perhaps the most endearing quality of Anne is her very humanness. She ruined the cake, fell off the roof, told the truth regardless of consequence, forgot the pie in the oven, turned to stone when insulted and loved her kindred spirits fast. She reveled in picnics and ice cream and fresh berries. Throughout our week we too enjoyed the scrumptious delights we encountered, with full abandon. No matter where we turned to dine, presentation and taste were impeccable, reminding me that despite human failure, despite the shortcomings we all exhibit, culinary perfection is indeed possible too. And if that’s possible, might we not strive for even more?
“Because when you are imagining, you might as well imagine something worth while.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gable. Standing atop the East Point Lighthouse and looking out to where the tides collide between the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Northumberland Strait was breathtaking. We stood feeling all the history, all the possibilities. The 150 year old still-working lighthouse remains a beacon for these waterways, and one can feel just how valuable this light would be when the weather shifts. We imagined a century of safety for all the seafarers sailing by that light, and standing in the sweltering heat we never wanted to descend but instead to touch heaven for those minutes.
“Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive—it’s such an interesting world. It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it? There’d be no scope for imagination then, would there?” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables. As we leave Anne’s world, her island, we remember her creator’s sage words, and keep our eyes moving forward, for, “Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables.
Tonight I unpack from this great journey, and repack for yet another. In the morning I fly west. Anne would certainly love that.