Saturday, 2 June 2012

A good book follows you

Currently reading: The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
Currently listening to: Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe"
Current weather conditions: slightly overcast, chilly, bluh.

Just the other day, I was at a barbeque at our friends' house, and they decided to let out their pet rabbit.

There we sat in the back garden, sipping some nice cool summer wine, er, spring wine, and the seven o'clock sun felt like a warm bath. The little rabbit hopped out of her hutch onto the patio, and flopped around, quite unselfconsciously, sniffing here and there.


The barbeque grill smoked. The wine glasses sweated.

In and out of conversation I went, in my sort of after-work haze, when the sight of the single rabbit bouncing across the grass triggered something in me. Suddenly I thought the word: Vilthuril. Then primroses. Fiver. Frith. Massacre. "Acts of injustice done, between the setting and the rising sun, in history lie like bones, each one."
If you haven't read it yet... you should.

And just like that I was transported back to October of 1999, when I was reading Richard Adams's Watership Down, and I was learning the language of rabbits on Nuthanger Farm. That October I was sixteen years old. Sitting on the back porch swing at my mom's apartment, during white-sky afternoons and into the night, when I could see my breath fog in the air it was so cold. I would sit out there under a pile of blankets and listen to the light rumble of the clothes dryer, smell a faint whiff of detergent that came through the vents in the side of the apartment building. I rocked in the swing just a little, let the chains catch and groan, catch and squeak. It was just me and the rabbits trying to fight for home. I would sit for hours holding this book, and completely disappear.

Now, watching the rabbit as she settled into her favorite spot in the yard, I wondered if she was thinking about other rabbits, or enjoying the freedom, or if she was happy she's safe.

A good, timeless book does that to you: it makes you see the world differently, and follows you around, and revisits you in the single image that embodies the entire story. Like a rabbit taking in the sun on soft grass. A good story will be there with you always. It pops up again ten or thirteen or twenty-five years later.

May you find a book that settles in your heart like that, that you can take anywhere.

Happy Saturday, all.

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