“A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a mentor, a teacher, a guidepost, a counselor.”
Henry Ward Beecher
Books are under siege. E-books, PDFs, digitally enhanced “products.” Everywhere you look, the book as we know it is at risk. And yet, my heart did a little dance when I came across the lovely quote above byHenry Ward Beecher. Where did it crop up? In a book! It inspired me to ponder the many ways in which books enrich our lives. A few thoughts:
A book is a garden: Books are filled with beauty, with color, sound, light, mental flights of fancy, lovely and luscious words, and the rhythms of prose and poetry with a special music all their own. They plants seeds, and bloom for our delight and amazement.
A book is an orchard: A book is a place of shelter and nourishment, a quiet haven where we can lose ourselves and our troubles for a time. It shades us and offers us strength and sustenance both fair and rare.
A storehouse: A book can be a cornucopia of life-changing information, a place where ideas and beauty are stored and remain endlessly available to anyone who chooses to open the door and step inside.
A party: Ah, who among us doesn’t love a party once in a while? Good food, flowing wine, witty conversation, glittering places and moments unbounded by time and space, the chance to commune with Shakespeare or Dante or Fitzgerald or anyone else we can think of. What delightful treasures and festivities we are invited to savor!
A mentor, a teacher, a guidepost, a counselor: Surely, there is something magical about finding a kindred spirit among the pages of a book: one who can counsel and guide us down whatever path we choose to take. Philosophy, painting, flower arranging, running, cooking: whatever art we yearn to master, somewhere out there, there is an ever-patient teacher awaiting us on a shelf, ready to leap into our hands and transform our lives.
My beloved sister Judy once said to me, “Karin, you think you can find everything in a book.” And for whatever reason, for me, this seems to be just about true. In my mind, I am always just a book away from something wonderful, miraculous, amazing. How about you?