Books: I Went to the Animal Fair
December 7, 2010 | Books
I just finished reading I Went to the Animal Fair: A Journey Through Madness to Meaning by Heather Harpham. I don’t remember buying or even being interested in this book. I found it when I was stacking books on the shelves of my new library. It was only 159 pages, so it didn’t take long to read.
I seem to be picking books written by people who have gone through recent challenges. Hmm.
I wrote this book over the course of a painful year. It is not a book about moralizing, or about right or wrong. It is about waking up to discover what is real and true — no matter how painful that process. It’s about breaking through layers of suffocating denial. It is about a terrible revelation. (p. 9)
It had an odd, quirky feel to it — probably because the words came from her journal entries.
This is the best observation in the whole book.
I realized about a month ago that there’s a last time everyone skips across a street. And that most people I know have already skipped for the last time and don’t know it.
From here on out it will always be walking or running, growing older and buying things at the store or seeing friends or going to work, but never again will life impel them to skip. When I thought of this, the tragedy of it overwhelmed me so that I skipped all the way home from my friend’s house.
Skipping is a strange thing. Because it means something. Like trains make the sound of leaving. Skipping is the motion of being totally free, childlike, abandoned of self and to self.
But I learned something else about skipping. You can’t fake it. Or make it happen. It must be something that happens to you. (pp. 152-153)
I’ll think of that next time I’m marveling at all the children skipping through the halls at the elementary school. It truly is a joy to watch.