17 November 2007

Doing Nothing, and Growing Up

"Where are we going?" said Pooh, hurrying after him, and wondering whether it was to be an Explore or What-shall-I-do-about-you-know-what.

"Nowhere," said Christopher Robin.

So they began going there, and after they had walked a little way, Christopher Robin said:

"What do you like doing best in the world Pooh?"

"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best---" and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called. And then he thought that being with Christopher Robin was a very good thing to do, and having Piglet near was a very friendly thing to have; and so, when he had thought it all out, he said, "What I like best in the whole world is Me and Piglet going to see You, and You saying 'What about a little something?' and Me saying, 'Well, I shouldn't mind a little something, should you, Piglet,' and it being a hummy sort of day outside, and birds singing."

"I like that too," said Christopher Robin, "but what I like doing best is Nothing."

"How do you do Nothing?" asked Pooh, after he had wondered for a long time.

"Well, it's when people call out at you just as you're going off to do it, What are you going to do, Christopher Robin, and you say, Oh, nothing, and then you go and do it."

"Oh, I see," said Pooh.

"This is a nothing sort of thing that we are doing now."

"Oh, I see," said Pooh again

"It means just going along, listening to all the things you can't hear, and not bothering."

"Oh!" said Pooh.


...Christopher Robin, who as still looking at the world, with his chin in his hands, called out "Pooh!"

"Yes?" said Pooh.

"When I'm--when----Pooh!"

"Yes, Christopher Robin?"

"I'm not going to do Nothing any more."

"Never again?"

"Well, not so much. They don't let you."

Pooh waited for him to go on, but he was silent again.

"Yes, Christopher Robin?" said Pooh helpfully.

"Pooh, when I'm--you know---when I'm not doing Nothing, will you come up here sometimes?"

"Just me?"

"Yes, Pooh."

"Will you be here too?"

"Yes, Pooh, I will be, really. I promise I will be, Pooh."

"That's good," said Pooh.

"Pooh, promise you won't forget about be, ever. Not even when I'm a hundred."

Pooh thought for a little.

"How old shall I be then?"


Pooh nodded.

"I promise," he said.

Still with his eyes on the world Christopher Robin put out a hand and felt for Pooh's paw.

-The House at Pooh Corner, A.A. Milne, 1928

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