Kindness, ordinary acts of extraordinary grace, and mindfulness as prayer practice

Astrid Elliman recommends The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy as an Eternity Summer Read.

It’s good to be engrossed in books. It’s hopeful. As a parent, I imagine reading books in summer as the main task. To change the pace a little. Yet, here I am, squeezing in chapters between things, and eventually middles and endings of stories. In a brief break from study, I’ve placed aside psychology, counselling, and social research books for a nurturing read in The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy.

Mackesy understands the tactile sense – the book is a hardcover and beautifully bound. But it’s also a feast for the eyes and admiring the beauty of ink on paper is a delight for me. As a calligrapher, author Mackesy allows artistic expression to take centre stage and quickly reminds the reader he is not familiar with formality.

I think about kindness anew, ordinary acts of extraordinary grace, and mindfulness as a prayerful practice.

Then the book changes the pace – but only if the reader allows the book’s tempo to guide them. It becomes almost a mindfulness exercise with pictures of kindness, friendship and a potential dreamscape of “what if?”

As a musician, I find joy in this shared experience between author and reader. I identify with the values it discusses – the kind of values we see in others and ourselves. I’m reminded of Paul Kelly’s song From Little Things Big Things Grow. I think about kindness anew, ordinary acts of extraordinary grace, and mindfulness as a prayerful practice.

So often we engage in the rationale, perhaps avoiding contemplation, but we need deep pools of reflection, too. This creative book is one of those, extending metaphor into art in a way anyone can relate to. Somehow, in the blue and black inks found in this wonder of a book, I feel ready to embrace the grief, strife and the uncertainty of 2020 … and move on.

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy is available from a range of book retailers, from around $26.95. 

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