Sunday, June 11, 2006

Grilling sausages, leaden balls, mother squirrel

Grilling sausages in the garden, a celebration of summer.

When, some years ago I read Juian Barnes novel, Flaubert's Parrot, I noted these words of Flaubert: "I am, when I write a book, like a man who plays the piano, with leaden balls on each of his fingers." It was something I could understand.Today, reading Flaubert's correspondence, I come across them at source in a letter to his mistress, Louise Colbert. The remark was made when he was 30 and engaged in writing Madame Bovary. Coming across it again, I felt I had completed a circle.

A picture has been stuck in my mind since last week when I saw, on the BBC's Springwatch programme, a mother squirrel teaching her young to jump. One refused to follow her from the roof where their nest was. First she jumped her self to show how it was done. Then she tried to push the infant. Then she left it to whinge on its own. Finally she returned and, picking it up between her paws, and with some difficulty, carried it across the gulf.

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