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I love to read, and I always enjoy thinking about why a book has the title that it has. I think titles matter a lot; I give my own book titles a great deal of thought and give a lot of attention to other people’s titles.
And I was very interested in a title that writer Elizabeth Goudge chose for one of her books.
I love the work of Elizabeth Goudge—her adult novels, her children’s novels, and her non-fiction.
She wrote a thought-provoking memoir called The Joy of the Snow. That’s an unexpected title, so as I read, I was curious to discover the reason she had chosen it. And here it is:
Her mother, accompanied by the dog Coach, had ploughed her way through a deep fall of snow to fetch her youngest home from nursery school. The hard going had been a weariness, the cold a misery to the flesh. Ploughing back again, her youngest attached, a small voice sang out beside her, ‘Look, Mummy! Look at Coach and the joy of the snow!’ Coach was leaping and rolling in the snow, his eyes like stars, his tail a banner. The little girl’s eyes were as bright as his, her face pink inside her hood…The mother for a few moments looked at the snow through their eyes and the earth had not smutched it.
What a wonderful phrase! The joy of the snow. It’s not always easy to feel the joy of the snow. Sometimes we’re able to see it better when we can glimpse it through other people’s joyful eyes.