For the last month I’ve been surrounded by the din of industrious workers who are making some much needed repairs to our home. I’m grateful to them, you can be sure, because we put this work off far too long in favor of other priorities and with the full knowledge of just how disruptive it would be. But nothing is quite what we imagine is it? I find the energy of constant doing spurs me on with my own endeavors and I’ve been trying to make the most of it. Even so, it can be very exhausting, all that relentless male energy, the yang so dominant it reaches its way up the stairs and through the doorway of my home office.
1-EVERYONE NEEDS A BOLT HOLE
I’m appreciating how important it is to have a convenient escape hatch, what burrowing animals use to disappear quickly at the first sign of trouble, a bolt hole. I need a place or places to escape, preferably with ac and some peace and quiet. I’ve armed myself with various bags to take away work, one for each of my current projects, so I can just grab and go. I’m exploring the ambiance of libraries and find mixes of modern technology and historic architecture are my favorites.
2-A BOOK TAKES MANY FORMS
As a former elected library trustee I can tell you opinions differ on the need for town-supported libraries. I recall being asked, if technology will make books obsolete, won’t libraries be unnecessary, so why fund them? Hard as it might have been for me to restrain my outrage, we all know technology has changed our concept of a physical book to encompass a variety of forms. The library now has all of them! What have not changed are the act of reading and the role of libraries to provide a vital support of literacy.
3-FELLOW READERS MAKE LIFELONG FRIENDS
I recall the magic of the Children’s Room from my childhood, with its miniature wooden chairs with rush-woven seats. I would pull one up to the shelves and contentedly browse the picture books, happily absorbed in turning the richly colored pages. As a teen I felt so privileged to receive my upgrade to the adult library card, my passport to the riches of the open stacks. There I met lifelong friends within the pages of books I could return to again and again, and discovered the intense pleasure of friendships with fellow readers of treasured novels, the dear friends who enrich my life to this day.
4-SMALL INVESTMENT, BIG IMPACT
When I was a high school student I volunteered one summer at a tutoring program for elementary reading and writing. I was assigned one small girl to work with on daily assignments. A month later while window shopping on my town’s Main Street I heard an excited small voice shout my name from across the street and call out, that’s my teacher! I smiled and waved as she passed by with her mother. Before that moment I knew volunteering was a good thing and helping kids learn meant they would do better in school, but until that moment it had not occurred to me how much it might mean to one single child, to have the undivided attention of a teacher. Tutoring, mentoring, teaching: help can occur on many levels and what is only a tiny piece of one person’s life can profoundly effect another. I still remember that little girl named Ruby.
5-YOU AND THAT BOOK CAN GO ANYWHERE
I have a passion for travel, and I’ve also had times in my life where literal incapacitation made that impossible. But there are images described by cherished authors who have opened up the world far beyond the scope of my personal experience. From the soaring heights of new ideas to the beauty in the minutiae of everyday life, all can be equally exalted on the page. Whatever form your book takes you can bring it anywhere and read whatever subject you like. What a privilege in a troubled world!
The quiet independent cafe in the off-hours provides a spot where I can sit with a coffee and try to avoid the temptation of an indulgent pastry. A shady bench on the town common allows me a view of sculpted monuments to times past. I lower my gaze to the page and as the sound of traffic becomes a murmur of white noise I disappear into the world of a book.
Here are some links to find out more about bringing literacy and books to others.
You are welcome to share your own favorites in the Comments.
Reading rainbow http://www.readingrainbow.com/
Photos by Claire Mauro