How does one write about a place that millions of people have already read about and fallen in love with? How do you illuminate a place that has already been brilliantly described by a beloved character, created by author Lucy Maud Montgomery?
On a sunny June day, I paused in front of Green Gables, realizing that no words would suffice. Anne herself once stated, "Oh isn't it just wonderful?" It was more than wonderful. Standing before the old two-story white farmhouse with its dark green trim and shutters, I stepped into one of my favorite childhood stories.
The "White Way of Delight" was absent, and I wondered to myself if it was fiction all along or is now the parking lot. Purple lilacs grew wildly along the white picket fence, permeating the air. A cherry tree arose in the yard, surrounded by vivid green grass that spread and sloped down into the hollow. Visitors wandered about, and to my surprise considering the excitement of such a place, politely waited for others to snap their picture in front of the Cuthbert home. Except for the singing birds, it was silent, as everyone absorbed the peaceful surroundings that had once inspired Montgomery to write her popular series. Six paned windows faced me, and the door was open, inviting me to enter.
Stepping through the front door was surreal, like a step back in time. I recalled that this had once been the home of a real family, Montgomery's cousins. To most of the world, it would always be Anne's home. It was dark and old, but more spacious than I'd expected. Rooms were staged with appropriate furniture and decor. Visitors, including myself, passed through quickly, winding through the roped off path. Most paused the longest at Anne's room, where her prized brown puffed sleeves dress from Matthew hung from her closet door. My heart tugged a bit, as the child in me hoped to see Anne skip around the corner and ask me to be her bosom friend.
Eventually I was guided out of the house to Lover's Lane. An approximately five foot wide dirt path led me through a forest filled with spruce and maple trees, ferns, moss, and blue violets. Sunlight dappled through the trees, birds chirped, and a small brook babbled. A quote by Montgomery was posted at the end of the path, "I had always a deep love of nature. A little fern growing in the woods, a shallow sheet of June-bells under the firs, moonlight falling on the ivory column of a tall birch... all gave me... feelings which I had then no vocabulary to express." Relating to her love of nature, I hoped that one day I too would find the vocabulary to describe such a beautiful place.