I came home this winter with handfuls of hyacinth bulbs and rooted them in jars of water, all lined up on a windowsill. For awhile it gave me great pleasure. When my husband could see nothing happening whatsoever, I was admiring the silky long white roots swimming like seaworms. Suddenly the flower spikes shot up, far too fast. For hyacinths seem spent as soon as they bloom.
Much like coming headlong to the end of a good book.
It is the anticipation of all the unread books by your chair, by your bed, and piled on the dining table that really get to you. To say nothing of miles and miles of books on shelves. Lost and absorbed in a good book, this is bliss. When it’s over, you’ve been transplanted alright, but where are you? Cold and alone, on an island at sea. Floundering. Between worlds. It can take a little while to find one’s footing again.
Oh magnificent reading, why must it ever end?
The only thing to do, of course, is pick up another book. Fortunately you have them stacked away and at the ready. While everyone appears to be unloading their home libraries, you’ve become a bibliophile (something that was in you all along). The child who lined up all the Nancy Drew books in the series. Later, the journals of Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Still later, the works of Joan Dideon, and on and on….
The more you read, the further behind you get. Books seem to beget books. Friends lend them and give them, and you can buy books faster than you can read them, Evelyn Wood or no Evelyn Wood Speed Reading Program. Who even wants to skim? Not you. You love every word too much.
Give me the long slow amaryllis bulb. The steady, slow progress of inching along every day. Poised for greatness like a good read. The gradual unfurling, in no hurry to flower. This is the moment I most enjoy.