Friday, February 22, 2013

cobwebs and stories in the corners

"Then they walked home together in the dusk, crowned king and queen in the bridal realm of love, along winding paths fringed with the sweetest flowers that ever bloomed, and over haunted meadows where winds of hope and memory blew.
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island

Used bookstores are dangerous places. They are full of twists and turns and little crannies full of books of your childhood, and books long forgotten.
When I walk into an old bookstore, I look, not for shiny new titles that capture my fancy, but the worn-out old classics that shaped my imagination.
I look for Winnie-the-Pooh, and E. Nesbit, and flip through the mysterious grandeur of musty old Jules Verne adventures.
These dusty old words are reminders of who you've been and what you've loved.
They are little whispers of words you've forgotten. Words that peel back the veils of your heart and reveal that they were lodged there all along.


Yesterday, my camera, the temperamental old fool, decided to refuse to turn on.
After a few milliseconds of mourning that my camera would not capture the beauty of Alton, Chawton, the countryside, my new friend the horse, and the house where Jane Austen tread, I put my camera in my pocket, took a breath, and breathed in the fresh air.
I read all the words that I would usually have passed by; I looked more closely at the snowdrops I would have glossed over; and I sat longer at a window, soaking in a view I would have snapped a shot of and then moved on.
I fought against the temporary coma my camera insisted on falling into; but then, instead of recording the experience while in the experience, I thought: I'll just live.
Instead of photographing the moment, I'll just savor in the moment.


I sat down to write about the day, and as soon as I put down words on the pages, I turned my camera on.
To the tune of a magical little electronic fanfare, the little trickster magically worked once more.
I laughed at the joke that had been played on me (and also with relief).
I don't know what sort of pixie put a spell over my little photo-making machine yesterday afternoon, but I bless that impish sprite.
As we tramped through mud, and explored the quiet country parks, and followed "winding paths fringed with the sweetest flowers that ever bloomed," I found myself refreshingly focused on each step I took.
I could have walked forever through the countryside.
Not only because it was enchanting with its rolling hills, sheep and horses (but no cows) peppering the grassy slopes, and its little wooden wildernesses, but because each moment was filled with the sheer goodness of laughter, friendship, and crisp English air.
No picture could adequately capture or record those moments.
But words, I think, maybe can get somehow closer to the truth of those moments.
Words can capture the essence of those moments quite well.
With skill, simplicity, and dexterity, sometimes words can say things with art and grace that we've always known were true but have only been able to explain, never to just say.
Sometimes, words can paint pictures better than pixels on a computer.
I painted my day with hot drinks and cold air, with tea and milk, and with brown ink on a white page.

Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

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