Commonplace: Tove Jansson, The Summer Book

“But Grandmother sat in the forest and carved outlandish animals. She cut them from branches and driftwood and gave them paws and faces, but she only hinted at what they looked like and never made them too distinct. They retained their wooden souls, and the curve of their backs and legs had the enigmatic shape of growth itself and remained a part of the decaying forest. Sometimes she cut them directly out of a stump or the trunk of a tree. Her carvings became more and more numerous. They clung to trees or sat astride the branches, they rested against the trunks or settled into the ground. With outstretched arms, they sank in the marsh, or they curled up quietly and slept by a root. Sometimes they were only a profile in the shadows, and sometimes there were two or three together, entwined in battle or in love. Grandmother worked only in old wood that had already found its form. That is, she saw and selected those pieces of wood that expressed what she wanted them to say.”

~Tove Jansson, The Summer Book

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