And the days dwindle down to a precious few (to borrow a great line from the even greater Frank Sinatra) and I find myself wanting to fill them with a bit more summer. A few more mornings of sleeping in, a few more afternoons of reading at the pool, a few more evenings of doing the same on the porch.
The time for reading chunksters has passed. During these mid-August days, I have a craving to consume as many small books as possible. Our church held an evening kids camp this past week (the UU version of Vacation Bible School) and each night my kids were there, I hung out at the gorgeous Northland Public Library (one that I have a job application into and would love to work at, if they happen to be reading this) and browsed.
(And secretly re-shelved about a dozen mis-shelved books, hoping my mitzvah would result in some much-needed good job karma being sprinkled my way. I don’t want the $448 million Powerball (well, OK, I kind of do) but something slightly more than minimum wage will suffice in the meantime. And what can I say? Once a library page, always a library page.)
While my kids learned about their place in space, I grounded myself – sitting in the plush chairs by the library’s unlit gorgeous fireplace (a fireplace!) and browsing through short stories (“Paranoia,” a newly discovered Shirley Jackson tale published in The New Yorker featuring Anthony Weiner on the cover); poetry (Swan, by Mary Oliver, not my favorite of her collections), plays and research books for my novel, and Mark Doty’s fantastic memoir, Still Life with Oysters and Lemon.
“Everything in our field of vision is passing. And some of these things will be here just the briefest while; these opened oysters, this already spotted quince are right at the edge of corruption even as we catch sight of them.
And yet, in the suspension these paintings, they will fade no more slowly than the hobnailed glass roemer, or this heap of rifled books; everything floats on this brink, suspended above the long tunnel of disappearance. Here intimacy seems to confront its opposite, which is the immensity of time. Everything – even a painting itself – is evanescent, but here, for now, these citizens of the great community of the disappearing hang, for a term, suspended.” (pg. 21)
Everything in our field of vision is passing. Sunday will be here just the briefest while.