“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

6.20.2010

still reading, still lazy, still happy, still healing

A different book now, but the same song, a song of doing nothing, of leaving the dishes piled in the sink, of looking past the laundry to be folded, a song of groceries not bought, of phones off the hook, of too late nights and too early mornings. I should be ashamed, I tell myself, I should do something, and so I take out the trash and water the outside plants against the summer heat, and then the book calls to me again, and I curl up in its story and forget the floors to be vacuumed, forget almost the air conditioner which has picked today to stop working. I am propped here on the bed between two fans, the coolest place in the house, a perfect welcome to summer. I should be reading The Help, the hot parts, the sweaty Mississippi summer parts, but I am 2 books beyond Aibileen and the girls and as luck would have it, in northern Wisconsin with Edgar Sawtelle and knee deep snow. I bought this book a year and a half ago, plopped it onto the stack of to-be-reads, and walked away; I picked it back up Friday, unable to put it down and I cannot argue with the timing of this cold tale on a sultry Texas night. I am glad for the strawberries in the refrigerator, and the staples of lemon sorbet and lime popsicles in the freezer. I am thankful for ice and wishing I'd bought watermelon, thinking I could have put the book down long enough for that, but knowing in my soul I could not. You takes your choices, and I chose reading.

I am unsure why now, why the reading signifies healing, as it surely does; I longed to escape into books these last two years, but could not, just couldn't. Perhaps it was depression, or perhaps it was just mindfulness, taking in the last of Mary's days and the gift of another year with Maggie. I often felt lost and frustrated at the not wanting to read, often felt it was gone forever, mourned it as yet another loss. But the books understood and they waited, they knew I would be back. I regret not one day of putting them off, and I thank them for their patience. I scan my bookshelves and so many call to me again - Out of Africa, West with the Night, The Far Pavilions - my usual summer read, a ritual of years running until the last two, Chocolat, Under the Tuscan Sun, A Short History of a Small Place, The Milagro Beanfield War, Love in the Time of Cholera, The Prodigal Summer. And yet, so many still unread, full of secrets and surprises.

I feel rich.

11 comments:

  1. You are rich. Rich in books, rich in words, rich in heart. That is what I love about you.

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  2. books have been my solace for the past couple of years. i abandoned non-fiction for well-written novels. i would give most anything now to be next door to you, sitting on my own couch for days with stacks of books, passing popsicles between our doors at night. edgar sawtelle left a mark on my heart, i found it so good.

    get your hands on "olive kitteridge" and "the piano teacher". you would appreciate the way they are written.

    let the dishes rot. keep filling your soul.

    xxoo, graciel

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  3. Reading has been my solace, my comfort, my friend, my way of life for.... Well, for always.

    Why then, can't I find a book I really love? Why can't I settle into it? I am restless, really restless lately. My mind won't settle.

    I find myself jealous of you.

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  4. Ah, a good book, cup of tea, and sorbet. Wow! that is summer, but also winter too. Perfection!

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  5. I love the written word ... love, love, love books. Sometimes when I cannot focus enough to read, I like to walk amongst them ~ at the library or bookstore. My favourite places to spend time with books are those big old rustic feeling used bookstores.

    The sun has yet to shower us with sultry, steamy heat. Still, a glass of pink lemonade makes it feel as tho' the sun is shining, even when the skies are cloudy.

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  6. i love to lose myself in a good book. the Story of
    Edage Sawtelle sounds like one I wouldl ike.
    The Prodigal Summer is one of my favorites. you're creating your "cool" and it sounds wonderful.
    love the photo

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  7. I feel the same way. Books are heaven. <3

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  8. Books are powerful. They are an escape into someone else's world, yet they still speak to you about your life. Much potential for healing in that, without a doubt.

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  9. A song of doing nothing... I seem to be singing the same song lately:) Books and the written word are riches that we take for granted, there was a time when people (especially women) were not so rich with them. I wish more people would realize that and appreciate it these days.

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  10. after my husband passed away i stopped reading. altogether, for several years. i just couldn't. i think there has to be a certain inner peace for me to lose myself in a book. as the ability to read slowly came back to me, it was like a long lost friend returning.

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  11. Do you think it might have to do with the pain of being in the quiet? When I am in pain, I need the distraction of sound..which is odd, because I am always seeking the quiet..but not when I am in pain. Reading is too quiet..it invites too much thought...too much mind wandering.

    When I read your first post today, about your appetite for reading coming back, I thought to myself, *she is feeling better*. And what a delicious list of titles you speak of. A few months ago, I bought a copy of Edgar Sawtelle but haven't read it yet. So many books are screaming for my attention right now...but you speak of it being a winter tale...maybe it will be a perfect December read. I will save it for then.

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