“It has always seemed to me, ever since early childhood, amid all the commonplaces of life, I was very near to a kingdom of ideal beauty. Between it and me hung only a thin veil. I could never draw it quite aside, but sometimes a wind fluttered it and I caught a glimpse of the enchanting realms beyond– only a glimpse– but those glimpses have always made life worthwhile.” – L. M. Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables
I consider Anne Shirley, the titular character of the Canadian classic Anne of Green Gables, a patron saint of Hag Stone Journal. The little red-haired orphan had a very difficult life before being brought, by accident, to Green Gables. The hardness, the trials, and the lack she experienced may be the reason why she can see how precious and beautiful the world really is. When Matthew Cuthbert first brings her to Avonlea in a wagon and they ride through a row of cherry trees blooming with white flowers, Anne sees the magic and then creates even more by naming the lane “The White Way of Delight”. She actively participates with the beauty of the world, accepting it into her heart and then giving something of her own in return.
Anne is a very determined girl; she is determined to love everything the world is offering her, from cherry trees, to an education, to a best friend. She also has a temper, can be stubborn, and makes many mistakes, but her zest for life, gratitude, and heart-centered approach return her to a loving path.
Using her own lexicon, I feel that Anne of Green Gables is a kindred spirit of my own and of Hag Stone Journal. Anne has faced many trials, loneliness, and wounds. I think, even at the tender age of 11, when she first arrives at Green Gables, her heart has been broken. But she has worked to heal herself, turning again and again to the beauty of nature, as well as to the escapism and powerful lessons on humanity of books. Once at Green Gables, Anne brings her ability to create magic to school, to cooking, to making friends, and to making a community. She keeps breaking her heart open so she can experience the world deeply. Sometimes she suffers for it, but she often lets her suffering teach her wisdom and compassion.
In some ways, I feel like Hag Stone Journal is my response to the difficulties in our personal lives and the larger world we live in. It is my alternative to suffering and conflict. It’s an offering, to myself and others, of healing. It is a choice to turn, again and again, towards hope and love, even amidst very real hardships. It is activities and ideas that renew and recharge your spirit so you can bring your better self to this life. And it is a story, told week after week, about how opening your heart up and connecting– to nature, to your inner self, to your community, to the divine– is how we will experience magic.