I decided to take a mini road trip yesterday down to Portland to visit Powell’s Books. It was, as it always is, a fantastic way to spend an afternoon. The trip also involved a visit to Lloyd’s Center and dinner out but the visit to Powell’s was the highlight of my day.It’s amazing how long I can scour the shelves for just the right books, rummage through multiple titles of my favorite authors, scan the shelves for new reading possibilities and still want more time when the allotted time is up. We had a three-hour maximum for our parking space some five or six blocks away and I was surprised when I discovered two hours had already passed. By that time I’d only been able to visit the journal section, the reference section for writers and the mystery section…as well as the café where I purchased a Chai tea and a very delicious ginger molasses cookie.
What is it about just being in the presence of books that can give someone so much comfort and contentment? The store was packed with visitors so we were surrounded with other like minds but what about those who don’t quite understand what the big deal is all about? Who hardly, if ever, step foot inside a book store or a library? Who never even open a book unless it’s a manual to fix something around the house or a book necessary for a class they may be taking? Is there any way to make them understand just how wonderful it is to get lost in a great story, become privy to the lives of characters who seem like real people, find comfort with the knowledge that we’re not the only ones who deal with difficult circumstances, or feel excitement when we bury ourselves in an imaginative and fascinating make-believe world?Many might say it’s in the way we’re brought up but I would have to disagree with that idea. I found I loved books at a very early age and I’ve been a reader ever since. It’s just something I took a liking to and I never turned away from. As I raised my sons, they were both always surrounded by my books and my need to read and as they learned to read, I enjoyed taking them to the bookstore and letting them pick out their own books. Both my boys were brought up the same way…I enjoyed reading to them when they were young, making it a routine to let them choose a book so I could read to them every night before they went to bed. When they were both in grade school and had to earn their AR points, I made sure they were both on task and reading at least twenty minutes every day. I believe they both enjoyed the quality time as we read books together. But around middle school is where I believe the fork in the road came about. One of my boys took one road, while the other decided on another path. One of my boys loves to read books as much as I do, while the other will only look at a book if it’s something he’s tasked to do. Both have bookshelves in their rooms but while one is loaded with books, the other is full of school yearbooks and sports trophies.
It’s just the way it turns out sometimes. Some people love books and find great pleasure in reading; others just don’t. There’s really no rhyme or reason to it, I don’t think. My boys have proven that to me. And that’s okay. Some people turn to books while others find other outlets.While I also have other outlets to get through the day, to let off steam or to end each day on a positive note, I can’t imagine what it would be like not to have books, to not always be in the middle of a book and now, to not be writing a book.
For those very reasons, I find delight while visiting places like Powell’s Books. It satisfies my need as a reader, adds fire to my creative soul and calms my spirit with blissful contentment.I can’t wait to go back!