I’m in the library. It’s cooler here than outside. We had a heat wave last week. It is done and gone, but cooler is still feeling better to me.
I am sitting by the windows, writing, a table for four all to myself. Sketch book and loose leaf papers and BIC 4-colour pen and ipod spread out before me. It is quiet at this end, away from the entrance and check-out desk and dvd section. I’m deep in the 900’s stacks. Biographies. Katharine Hepburn looks out at me from a cover. A namesake and one of my heroes, she is.
In the library I am no hero. I am a pirate. I’m here for treasure.
There is treasure everywhere in the library, so I’m always a very successful pirate on my voyages through this word and idea space.
Today I am searching for no particular treasure. No. Today I am on the lookout for buried treasure, unearthed by hands other than mine.
The book sticking out one inch beyond its neighbours on the shelf. Someone thumbs through it. No, not for me, they say, replace it carelessly, walk away. I come by later and there it is, mine. Just what I was looking for, although I did not know it until now. I drop it into my sack.
And here is another. Left lying on top of other books. Like my first find, looked at, discarded. Left for me to come along the shelves and recognize its possibility in my life at this moment. A second piece of treasure into my sack.
I am a rich pirate today. Double treasure to take home and play with. Try out the words and ideas and story for their fit. Ooo, I do like this first one. It’s all me and beyond. Hmmm. This second one, not so much. Doesn’t fit me and my life as comfortably, but there is an interesting idea and turn of phrase, the way the writer links her words that I write into my sketch book for thinking on later.
There is learning in both my treasures today. The one that fits me well and sparkles brightly. The other that does not, yet offers me a pebble for polishing and playing with, turning it in the light and finding its brightest face.
I love being a pirate in the library. Gathering treasure unearthed by others gives me a different point of view. I would never have gone looking for these books on my own. They weren’t in my usual pattern of interests and thinking. Yet here they are crossing my path and, because of that, worth a look.
I have long practice at this joyful plundering. Sailing the library stacks and then turning for home, my sack full of treasure, my heart full of pleasure and anticipation, delight and surprise at what I have found today.