Friday, July 9, 2010

The Library

Growing up, my Father's house did not have a library. We had a family room with a large bookshelf, a wood burning stove and furniture. It became the library to me. I would sit, especially in the winter, in the oversize furry brown swivel chair and read for hours and hours.

The chair was like a bear. Its fur was like the softest silk when you brushed your hand downward. Petting it in the opposite direction was coarse, like a Labrador's coat pushed back against the lie, or an old painter's brush - a bit rough and gritty as if it has been used to paint before. My sister and I would write messages to each other by running out fingers against the grain to the chair's fur- leaving impressions and making our letters and words.

I said especially winter, because the wood burning stove would be my company-cracklin' and poppin'- whistlin' as it met ash or oak. The smell is like a dream. Burning ash. It smells like nature's wisdom, becomes a bold and smoky aroma that seems to wrap the room in a security blanket. I love that smell. I love that crackle.

Aha! I almost forgot. The crackle reminds me of he popcorn. The little white fluffy clouds of airy butter and salt were a perfect accompaniment to the book and fire. They disappeared into my mouth and melted away like the pages of the novel.

As if I didn't have enough olfactory stimulation- I would periodically lift the book up to my nose and smell the age of the book. Grandma's basement, humidity, history... I could feel the smell of the book-it was like wisdom, musty with knowledge. It's like a lecture from my grandfather... tender, firm, and understanding. The pages of the book were dry-but not too dry. They didn't suck the moisture from my fingers, but they also were parched just so, as to flick from the page with a fleetness designed to match my rate.