from: Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear
by Lindsay Mattick
illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Little, Brown and Company, 2015
Harry Colebourn found a bear at the train station. He was getting ready to leave for bootcamp and then out to fight for Canada in World War I. He took the bear with him to London and named her Winnie, after his home town, Winnipeg. But when it was time to ship out to France for the fighting, Harry thought with his heart and decided to take Winnie to the London Zoo where she’d be safe.
One day, A. A. Milne took his son Christopher Robin to the zoo. Christopher Robin saw Winnie. They became friends and Christopher Robin was allowed to enter her enclosure and play. He made up lots of stories about Winnie-the-Pooh and his father wrote them all down.
After the war, Harry returned to visit Winnie and decided to leave her at the zoo. She was happy there, and after all, that was what he really wanted for her.
This Friday, Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne and illustrated by Ernest Shepard will be ninety years old. My girls grew up with the timeless Milne/Shepard version of the Pooh stories. We played Pooh-sticks on a bridge. We sang “The Honey Song” and made up songs about bears and tiggers.
So I’m sending my thanks to Harry and A. A. and Christopher Robin and Ernest out into to the universe and not expecting anything in return. I’m sending my thanks for the serendipitous connection that turned Winnie into Winnie-the-Pooh. I’m sending my thanks to the Grand Intention that moves the universe wonderously, mysteriously, playfully.
The world is full of mysterious patterns and connections. Serendipity has focus, intent, and purpose. Sometimes these are knowable, even obvious. Sometimes they are obscure. No matter. I am learning to graciously say thank you when the universe sends gifts into my life.
My list is long.