Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Another Time, Another Place....

I finished reading "Far Away and Long Ago" by W. H. Hudson. I like to read "19th Century Childhood or Pioneer Memoirs"; a recent example was "Clearing in the West", which I mentioned a few months ago. The English author of this book lived from about 1840-1920; he was born in the Argentine pampas country where his parents ran an estancia or ranchero til he was in his teens. Hudson was a life-long naturalist with a love of bird-watching. The book is full of his memories of the very colorful and exotic animals, plants and most of all, people that filled his early life. The narrative has a feel of Alice in Wonderland. His parents indulged their children with rather lenient discipline for the era; the kids had a lot of freedom to roam the pampas, riding bareback on their ponies after daily lessons taught by a series of inept tutors. A age 6 or 7, the boy came near to being killed and eaten by a wild pig while out riding alone! The foundation of the ranchero home was occupied by a multitude of snakes which moved about their area "speaking" to one another all night long. Strange observations of an extinct time and place. Even as the book was written, in the 1910's, the wild pampas was already turned to farm land.

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