Quick–go to the grocery store and buy a plain Cheerios box with a children’s picture book inside called “Chaucer’s First Winter” by Stephen Krensky.
“Chaucer was a curious young bear,” it begins. Me, too.
Chaucer’s older friends, a fox and a squirrel, tell him that when winter comes, he will sleep. Chaucer doesn’t believe them, so he asks his parents.
“Bears do like to snooze,” his father observed.
“It’s very restful,” his mother added, “which is good for growing bears.”
But Chaucer decides to stay awake. He spends the whole winter playing with his fox and squirrel friends.
“It’s magic,” he said of the snow. Which is what this Central Texas girl thinks, too.
When winter ends, Chaucer goes to check on his parents, who are just waking up. He wants to tell them all about his winter adventures, but he’s too tired. He falls asleep in his mother’s arms.
Why do I love this story? The bear is named Chaucer! It’s about the joys of winter! It’s about rest! It’s about people not understanding what Chaucer needs and about Chaucer not understanding himself.
Yes, a curious bear may stay awake all winter, but it’s going to catch up with him, come spring. After Christmas, a job opportunity came my way that would have involved working with some wonderful people. I wanted so much to be a part of this group that I said yes, even though the daily tasks were not a good fit for me. Oh sure, I could have had a heck of a time throwing snowballs with the equivalent of a fox and a squirrel, but eventually, I would have ended up crashing.
The last line of the book is, “But the rest of his story was going to have to wait.”