The first book I borrowed from the small public library in West Elmira was “Mrs. Piggle Wiggle’s Farm.” My father had walked me in to the converted four-square house on Water Street. He’d held my hand, as usual, and helped me obtain my junior library card.
To sit at my desk and open that book, in the quiet and privacy of my room, was an unforgettable experience, a gift. It was as if the love from my father, which I took completely for granted, and in which I delighted (and still do, in memory), illuminated an entire new world of conversation and imagery and story-telling through the world of books.
In hindsight, I see that I built up my “reading chops,” by reading everything around the house, from the Sunday Comics to “War and Peace,” and, just for fun, the World Book Encyclopedias, later the Encyclopedia Britannica. In the meantime, I was borrowing the Nancy Drew Mysteries, and other age-appropriate books, from the West Elmira Public Library.
Today, I have bookshelves here, there, and everywhere. I own a lot of ” fluff,” for lack of a better way to describe some of the books…like Hallmark Cards on steroids. But, there are numerous novels, biographies, lots of non-fiction, and I’ve tried to keep things organized, as in categories and alpha-by-author.
In this time of discernment, as I take stock of all these books, I am ready to clear out most of them. It’s come down to the Grail Psalter, four Bibles, and a few others. And the realizations, awakenings, the combination of deep love-as-teacher, hit me in what I can only describe as a fullness-of-time experience this morning. I am so grateful, so very grateful.