THIS is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic,
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.
Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring ocean
Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.
This is the forest primeval; but where are the hearts that beneath it
Leaped like the roe, when he hears in the woodland the voice of the huntsman?
Where is the thatch-roofed village, the home of Acadian farmers,—
Men whose lives glided on like rivers that water the woodlands,
Darkened by shadows of earth, but reflecting an image of heaven?
Waste are those pleasant farms, and the farmers forever departed!
Scattered like dust and leaves, when the mighty blasts of October
Seize them, and whirl them aloft, and sprinkle them far o’er the ocean.
Naught but tradition remains of the beautiful village of Grand-Pré.
Ye who believe in affection that hopes, and endures, and is patient,
Ye who believe in the beauty and strength of woman’s devotion,
List to the mournful tradition, still sung by the pines of the forest;
List to a Tale of Love in Acadie, home of the happy.
from Longfellow’s beautiful, sad poem, “Evangeline.”
I can’t help of think of words like this when I walk in the Great Smokey Mountains or even some of the beautiful trails around Lookout and Signal Mountains. They have captured my imagination, which is an important point to remember when buying Christmas presents for your children.
What we read, do, and play with as children form our imagination, developing our ideas of ourselves and the world: heros and who they are, villans and why they do what they do, how we define “happily ever after.” Do our little girls believe they are beautiful just as they are? Do our little boys believe they capable of anything God wants them to do? Our Christmas celebrations help them understand these things.