“…for it was living itself that she enjoyed…” : Autumn and Elizabeth Goudge


I’ve been contemplating seasonal literature flavors once again. Autumn is like a delicious seven-layer salad.  Or rather a hot, steaming, crusty potpie. A collage of flavors, colors, smokey smells, and damp bits, trees, the land returning to dirt. Just dig your spoon deep down into the squishy goodness, drawing up something tasty and different each time.  As I think on this passing favored season, I can’t help but begin to think of another of my personal beloved authors, Elizabeth Goudge. The autumn richness flutters, floating its way down through Goudge’s words, her flawed, hurting characters, and her sense of place. Nothing like the autumn season reminds us so much of the necessity of home and hearth. A place to gather round and draw in, the place you can return to often and walk away filled afresh and anew. Miss Goudge often wrote deeply of a central place, or thing that permeates and influences, that almost-out-of-reach-intangible something throughout her narratives. These often become like a beloved character in and of themselves. Her stories stray a bit, at times, leading you down strange, yet lovely mystical paths, and you may find a neatly stitched up ending occasionally, however I guarantee you will always walk away with something. A little wisp of beauty, a puff of smokey delight, a thought to dream on. Just like anticipating the first leaf to burst forth into it’s glorious splendor, you have to snuggle down with patience, soaking in each word, each line, and chapter. It’s a coming harvest that will surprise and fill the deep hunger of soul. Your breath sucks in, a beautiful, colorful surprise around the corner, inky scribbles on the page, an autumn gift of jewels for the taking. And of course, one of the secrets of autumn, is the deep, internal things happening underneath the surface. The hint, the promise of something green, some growth, and most importantly, hope. Wouldn’t you like to lick that spoon, taste a bit of this loveliness?

…He (John Adair) liked a constant supply of hot water, a refrigerator, an elevator, an electric toaster, a telephone beside his bed, central heating and electric fires, and anything whatever that reduced the time spent upon the practical side of living to a minimum and left him free to paint.
But Sally [his daughter] did not want to be set free for anything, for it was living itself that she enjoyed. She liked lighting a real fire of logs and fir cones, and toasting bread on an old-fashioned toaster. And she liked the lovely curve of an old staircase and the fun of running up and down it. And she vastly preferred writing a letter and walking with it to the post to using the telephone and hearing with horror her voice committing itself to things she would never have dreamed of doing if she’d had the time to think. “It’s my stupid brain,” she said to herself. “I like the leisurely things, and taking my time about them. That’s partly why I like children so much, I think. They’re never in a hurry to get on to something else.” 
― Elizabeth Goudge, Pilgrim’s Inn 

(emphasis mine)


P.S. – {I kindly suggest starting with The Dean’s Watch, A City of Bells, or Pilgrim’s Inn}


5 thoughts on ““…for it was living itself that she enjoyed…” : Autumn and Elizabeth Goudge

  1. Ooh! That sounds like a book I should read. It’s strange to read that you’re in Autumn. We head into summer in two days but our weather has been all over the place. I’m sitting outside enjoying watching my 6 week old grandson sleeping in his pram so his mum can gave a break. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Carol, do you mean Pilgrim’s Inn? 🙂 YES. Please do read it! It IS a part of a trilogy and it’s the second, but I think it can stand alone. Although, you may need some backstory that comes in the first book. 🙂 It’s so amazing that we are opposite seasons. I find it fascinating! 😀 And how lovely that you are helping your daughter and spending time with a grandchild. Sigh. ❤


  2. I was so pleased to read about your second literary season, Amy! 🙂 I’ve not read Elizabeth Goudge before, but I know from past posts that she is one of your favourite writers. Thank you for including the quote from *Pilgrim’s Inn* – the contrast between the two characters was unexpected, even jarring for me when I read it. Perhaps because I’ve gotten used to certain time saving conveniences in my everyday life and found myself easily relating to the first character. . . and then realized, with the depiction of the second, that I am further away from that reality of enjoying “living itself” than I would like. Thanks for the good food for thought, and your lovely depictions of autumn in your post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello, Heather! 🙂 I’m so glad you enjoyed my second favorite author and her seasonal connection. I understand what you are saying perfectly…I think I tend to vacillate between both types, as my core base appreciates order and convenience, but due to my lifestyle and romantic nature, I HAVE to slow down and notice the little bits of life beauty. In order not to be physically and emotionally swamped under the sheer weight of all the practicalities of being at home with my children, I have to choose enjoy the daily domesticity, if you will, of life. Does that make any sense? Ha. Anyway, thanks for stopping by!


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