For all my knitting, sewing and gardening, I’d still rather read. I get sad realizing I may have only forty reading years left, knowing there’s fiction, history, geography, theology, poetry and science I’ll never even touch. Or that I could read everything written in English and not scratch the surface of it all. When I was a new reader, I worried I would forget how. It was a relief to look at the cereal box every morning and confirm I could still do it.
Right now I have bookmarks in The Federal Papers by Alexander Hamilton, The Finest Hour by Winston Churchill, This Is the Story of A Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett, and R.E. Lee by Douglas Southall Freeman. (I find it funny that he abbreviates Lee’s name but not his own). Churchill was a beautiful writer. Every third or fourth page in between are excruciatingly detailed verbatims of meetings with his Lord Admiral. Mr. Lee, finally graduated from West Point and has been in St. Louis dredging the Mississippi River for three chapters. Hamilton is occasionally interrupted by James Madison and John Jay as the three of them campaign to sell the country on the new constitution. Patchett’s essay on plant life in Tennessee is poetry in paragraph.
I’m not nearly as smart as my book list suggests which is why I read, to know stuff. But only partly. The process is sacred to me. Someone had a thought in his brain. He channeled the thought through his arm into his hand which pushed it out through a pencil onto a sheet of paper. He sent the paper to someone who launched it through a factory and a book popped out the other side. The Churchill book lived hither and yon for 59 years before landing in the Bloomington Antique Mall where I found it and carried it home in a grocery sack. And while I don’t much care which ships carried fourteen and sixteen pound guns, how amazing is it that I get a front row seat to that conversation!
I can’t remember my kids’ phone numbers but I remember things I read in books when I was in 4th grade. Writers are my heroes. I’d rather lose an arm than lose literacy. I’m grateful not to have to choose, of course, as arms and literacy are endlessly useful and so essentially human. Like eating and breathing. I’d like to high five the Mesopotamian who first thought of it. But that thought has me wanting to read about linguistics now and I simply must let the dog out and feed the chickens. Alas . . . .
peace & prayers, pastor annette