This week's book touches on the idea of culture, goals, perspective, reality, and daydreams by use of a map... Last week's book, Within the Forbidden City alluded to the wealth and power of 500 years of the vast country of China. This week's book-of-the-week borrows from that culture by reusing the map as the backdrop to form another perspective. Digging to China contemplates the vast complexity of growing up... by looking through the eyes of a child playing in their North Carolina backyard while daydreaming about China.
|the wrapper cover|
A cloth covered 5-panel board wrap case with magnet closure is the cover for Digging to China. The title plate is inkjet printed with Papyrus font onto a card that has been hand-stamped with china-red acrylic paints.
|vintage National Geographic article on China...|
|a small view of a huge country...|
|Once upon a time...|
|the hole to China...|
|dreams and goals...|
|reality ... not always getting what you expect|
The origin of the phrase "digging to China" is a little confusing. One reference states it first appeared in the mid 1800's in a literary journal.. another site says Henry Thoreau coined the phrase about a neighbor's yard... another source states it has origins in Great Britain... and another declares it was in an 1850's article about beavers and engineers! Strangely, though the source is obscure... it has become a lexicon of American parlance meaning attempting something that will never be achieved.
So it's true... in North Carolina, where this week's book Digging to China takes place, a hole dug directly through the earth's core would actually end up at the bottom of an ocean rather than China. ...Somehow that doesn't have the same journey-like effect as imagining exotic China! The fact that reality isn't even close to the perception of the endpoint doesn't seem to bother the child, however. The story ends with the hole abandoned and the child building towns, roads and mountains of China in the nearby sandbox.
Childhood is the time when it's easy to believe that daydreams are real... and impossible situations can happen. It's also a time when we learn to adapt to change and transformation... to move along that map called growing up. Regrettably, it is also a time for making mistakes, learning from them, and moving on. That learning can be the most significant lessons of our lives. No matter what our age, sometimes we should all spend a sunny morning in the backyard Digging to China.