“Perhaps there is nothing more delightful in the romance of boyhood than the finding of some secret hiding-place whither a body may creep away from the bustle of the world’s life, to nestle in quietness for an hour or two. More especially is such delightful if it happen that by peeping from out it, one may look down upon the bustling matters of busy every-day life, while one lies snugly hidden away unseen by any, as though one were in some strange invisible world of one’s own.”
In Howard Pyle’s coming of age book about a young squire named Myles Falworth, Pyle gives us a small glimpse into the power of a place. On a summer afternoon, Myles and his best friend, Gascoyne, find a hiding place of their very own. They call it their Eyry (a roosting-place of young hawks) and return to the tower frequently to retreat from the busyness of the world around them.
What’s interesting to me is that Howard Pyle wrote Men of Iron in 1891… over 120 years ago. And the story is set in the 15th century (which is also more than 120 years ago). This leads me to believe that busyness is not a new dilemma. It is something we have wrestled with from the very beginning, but a busy life is not by God’s design. We see a different story in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve had space to be with God. They had a place of their own. A place to think and dream and create. A place God created for them to enjoy.
We may long for a place like this for our kids… for ourselves… but we still live in a world of “busy.” Maybe it’s time to fight against busy. Our kids don’t need more busyness in their lives. They need more space to be kids.
With all of this rattling around in my mind…
My wife and I (with a little help from Pinterest and our local hardware store) built our boys an Eyry of their own. We have 3 boys in our household (5,3, and 1) and a small backyard. We wanted them to have a place of their own. A place to “creep away from the bustle of the world’s life” as Howard Pyle so thoughtfully words it. Our prayer is that our boys’ Eyry gives them space to break away from busy. When they climb the ladder to the Eyry, I hope they enter a world that reflects the Garden.
The great thing is your Eyry doesn’t have to look like ours. All it has to be is…theirs. For my wife, it was a “secret spot” composed of random treasures dragged together in the woods. For C.S. Lewis and his brother it was a section of their attic that they called “the little end room”. For the rest of us it might have been a swing set or closet or cardboard box or our grandparent’s basement. We all need an Eyry. Don’t underestimate the power of a place in your child’s life.
I’d love to hear from you! What did your “Eyry” look like growing up? Do your kids have an “Eyry” of their own to escape from the busyness around them?