Frederick by Leo Lionni was one of my favorite children's books when I was a little girl. Frederick is a mouse who belongs to a colony of mice. During the summer and autumn months, all of the mice of the colony are gathering nuts and berries and grains to store away for the winter - all of them, that is, except Frederick.
When the colony mice ask Frederick what he's doing, he replies that he's gathering sun rays, colors and words. As you can imagine, the other mice think Frederick has gone coo coo.
Later, in the middle of winter, the mice of the colony have eaten up all their grain. The fruit is long gone and there are just a few nuts. It's then that Frederick the mouse begins to tell his brothers and sisters stories - stories of the sunshine and of the colors of summer and of words that were spoken during months when they were all together in the warmth. Frederick's stories warm the hearts of all the mice in the colony and they finally understand.
I think of Frederick a lot during the winter months, especially during the month of January. On the coldest of cold days, it's often hard to find something that inspires a ray of sunshine into your day. On those days, I channel Frederick. After all, it only takes a moment to close your eyes and imagine the sunshine on a day in the middle of late summer when you and a loved one shared a moment.
One of my favorite memories from this past summer is when my nieces and nephews all spent the night with me and Robert. We hung out at the house then went downtown to a local burger joint to enjoy massive cheeseburgers, monster shakes and jumbo onion rings and fries. Then we walked and walked downtown. It was hot and we were sweaty, but we were together, hanging out and acting goofy. Afterwards, we sat around in the living room and fought over which movies we wanted to watch. The next morning, we all got up and met Nana and Pop Pop for breakfast before they had to go home.
What are your colors? What are your sun rays? What are your words?