- QUICK LINKS
- MY ACCOUNT
A young Hawthorne patron moved to a distant island with her family in April. She recently wrote a letter to her Hawthorne library friends, saying:
"I wish i could spend another delightful summer full of relaxing afternoons, with a book in hand. Our library, a beautiful musty yellow decrypted building filled with windows that face the sea, and a soft pink hotel built in the 1800's! It is full of dusty nooks and corners. Some of the books are overflowing with history just on the cover. There is also a steep stairs that leads to a larger room of books. It cricks and groans with many pains as we climb up it's ancient body.
Most of the books you cannot take home because the island cant pay for them to be tagged so you cannot check them out, but some are free to take. Mostly the old classics--I must confess i have never read so many in my life!"
As I read this vibrantly descriptive letter with its quirky spelling and inventive punctuation, I smelled the dust and heard the surrounding sea. I saw the "musty yellow" and "soft pink" walls quietly crumbling around me, though I will likely never be physically in that space. I could inhabit that far place, and feel its magic, through the letter of a young person who knows how much we care about her reading life. What she is reading matters; she tells us she is immmersed in "the classics"-- but she will remember this summer all her life for its rich associations of time and place. That she has shared it with her left-behind library family is a real pleasure.
It makes this writer remember a particular apple tree in an old overgrown orchard with a holey hammock strung from its huge boughs...even today, 50 years on, the smell of an overripe apple or the drone of a lazy wasp brings one special book, with all its fabulous illustrations vivid and whole, immediately into my waiting consciousness.
The place, the time, and the sharing are all dimensions of the literary experience that any one of us can embrace, this summer or in any season at all. The pleasure will last a lifetime.