It’s been snowing for 24 hours in Vermont and that’s a good thing. Two years is a long time to wait for a blanket of white, when you live in the northern regions.
I watch the storm and gaze out my window. The snow builds a seedhead on top of Sedum ‘Bertram Anderson’, trys to knock Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’ to the ground and practically buries Hakonechloa macra.
My eyes come back inside and scan the gardening books on my shelf. I can identify the first gardening books I acquired by the color of their covers. I wonder if I will every open most of these books again.
It’s the time of year, when a NPR features the best of … Radio on, iPad in hand, I make lists of possible reads. In between programs, I dream of a home renovation requiring the elimination of the bookshelves holding my garden volumes. My reverie is interrupted by the radio. Richard Howorth, owner of Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi reads a passage by Wendell Berry from My Bookstore: Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Place to Browse, Read and Shop.
“A book is not text. It is a material artifact, a thing made not only to be seen, but also to be held and smelled, containing language that can be touched, and underlined with an actual pencil, with margins that can be actually written on. And so a book, a real book, language incarnate, becomes part of one’s bodily life.”
My iPad crashed to floor at the security check-in at Heathrow Airport in September. It’s been replaced by the ever newer, better and lighter iPad. The smaller, more compact size of the iPad has made it easier to tote around. It feels closer to booksize.
Berry has caused me reconsider my impulsive decision. For the time being, I’ve put aside all thoughts of jettisoning my garden books. I am looking for a bookstore that has what Berry identifies: as the economic as well as the social contract. A place to exchange ideas, be introduced to new books and make friends.