Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Friends, Books, and Oh, So Much More
Washington DC. Capitol of our fine Union, home to the worlds biggest library, and residence of two old friends and one new one (pictured above).
I visited in honor of a landmark birthday that all four of us are experiencing this year. I won't say it out loud yet, but it rhymes with dirty.
There are periods when you just need to have something to look forward to. An exclamation point looming somewhere on the horizon. For the past month and a half this visit has been mine. The risk of such events is that if the weeks leading up to them are listless or strenuous, or just long, that one blip of happy that is coming becomes very important. Embellished even. It's a lot of pressure for a weekend. It's like when someone tells you that a new flavor of cupcake will change your life and make you forget your name and cause you to sell your home just to buy more. It might very well be the best cupcake you've ever had, but with such a hard sell, it can still be disappointing.
Well, I am thrilled--and a tad relieved--to admit that this weekend totally lived up to the heaps of expectations I poured upon it. If we had done nothing but sit around and talk it would have done so, but we did much more.
I didn't have the foresight to put "Listen to live Broadway hits at the Bulgarian Embassy" on my bucket list, but if I had, I would have drawn a line through it on Friday. We visited the Navy Yard (pictured above with previously noted two old friends and one new one) and the Eastern Market.
I met the most precious bookstore. It was a second hand shop made of three stories of narrow aisles jammed floorboards-to-ceiling tiles with pre-loved volumes on everything from mountain climbing to Jane Austen. I left with two, but could have stayed all day, bumping past other readers to squint and crouch on the hunt for special treasures. It was glorious.
In addition to the two bookstores, we visited one library. you might say, the library.
The Library of Congress opens the doors of the reading room and other restricted zones to visitors only twice a year. Fortunately, the friends I was with also thought this was cool.
All in all, it was a bibliophiles dream weekend, and as I am deeply in love with the written word, I found it all thrilling. And so much more so for having visited so many fine places with such dear friends.
Thank you, Jesus, for America, and for books, and for all the fine people who have, over the years, loved, valued, and compiled the written word for me, and future generations. As the librarian in the vault said, "Books are here forever. Who knows how long the Internet will last." Thank you for dear friends who refresh my soul just by being. Thank you for weekends that are just what they ought to be. All my love.