The Loss of Innocence
April 4, 2013 4 Comments
A few weeks back, Sarabeth and I attended our first Andrew Peterson concert – one of the better concerts I’d ever attended. During it, he told the story of his son whom he found crying in his bed. When asked what was the matter, his son responded by holding out a book toward his father.
The book was The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.
Like any good father, Andrew picked the book up and began to read it to see what had troubled his son so badly.
As Andrew would have it, he found himself out on the front porch a few days later finishing the book in his hands that his son gave him. And, as he would have it, he was bawling uncontrollably.
Like a little boy.
His son came out onto the porch and said two words that bound father and son together in a mutual understanding: “The Yearling?”
Andrew Peterson nodded and said, with a choked voice, “The Yearling.”
Being a sucker for sappy stories, I took this book recommendation as a great challenge. Many movies may move me to tears, but I can’t recall ever crying over a book.
Folks, if you read this book,
no matter how hard your heart is,
no matter how tough you think you are
It’s a story more about the loss of innocence than about the loss of a childhood pet (whose death is quite more graphic in depiction than even Old Yeller, and anyone who reads it will be haunted for a while).
The final few pages brought me back to my own innocent childhood and how that innocence has, somewhere behind the thick veil of time, flown away “somewhere beyond the sink-hole, past the magnolia, under the live oaks … and gone forever.”
It takes a few chapters to get past the Swamp People-esk dialect, and even a few more chapters for things to begin to unfold, but that’s not to say I ever really got bored. I enjoyed the lush descriptions of the Floridian sawgrass and swamps. I loved reading about the silly antics of Jody’s lovable father, Penny. And I savored the few moments Jody had with Flag, his yearling.
Andrew Peterson was so moved by this book that he wrote a song called, “The Ballod of Jody Baxter.” You can listen to it here.
I encourage anyone who needs to be moved, stirred, or even reminded of the carefree days that lay just in calendars past when all was well.
On a personal note, I know this was a timely book for me, as I’m struggling with accepting the corruption of the world, much less in myself. The Yearling taught me to remember days gone past when things were good. And even though they may be gone now, there is a day when I, when we, will share good days together again in the future…