I have my own particular recollection of this. Every year from when I was of reading age, I was given a Rupert the Bear annual for Christmas and every Christmas day I fell upon it with a passion, losing myself in the mysterious tales of Chinese wizards and sea-gods and wood sprites. Then one year I picked up the annual and could not "get into it". It was just a book with pictures and a story.
I could no longer enter its portal and inhabit its world. Even now I remember the sting of disappointment. My wife thought I was mad when last year I bought a large painting of Rupert from the artist Mark Manning who has done a series depicting scenes from Nutwood.
But I suppose therein lies the explanation. Innocence is also the growth of self-consciousness, perhaps the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" referred to in the story of Adam and Eve. Perhaps you are thrown out into a world bled of colour and meaning and spend your life trying to regain it.
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But can you regain it? Not in its original form, certainly.
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But sometimes, now I am growing older, I feel shadows of my ancient innocence in the night sky, in the song of birds, in the earth's breathing out of white and pink blossoms. I am unlearning all the things I have been taught in life, and perhaps this, as well as the more tragic meaning , is what Shakespeare talked of when he wrote that the final age of man is: "Last scene of all,.
I am unlearning all the things I have been taught in life, and perhaps this, as well as the more tragic meaning , is what Shakespeare talked of when he wrote that the final age of man is: "Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history, Is second childishness and mere oblivion.
I is for Innocent
Topics Family Tim Lott's Family column. Children features.
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