“Come, read to me some poem … That shall soothe this restless feeling, And banish the thoughts of day.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
As soon as I read these lovely lines they led me to ponder the many ways that reading helps us soothe and restore ourselves — and also helps those we write for — our cherished readers — do the same.
Reading helps calm and relax us: When we’re feeling restless and unsettled, reading can give us a place to land for a while, it can anchor us and restore balance to our lives, even just for a short time.
Reading gives us a home to come back to: Wherever we are and whatever we’re doing, reading lets us return to the page, a place where we feel at home, a place where we belong, no matter what else is happening.
Reading lets us leave our day: It “banishes the thoughts of day” as Longfellow said so well. If we are having a rough time, if we are worried or distressed, reading gives our minds something new and different to focus on. It lets our minds create new pathways.
Reading lets us escape: Who among us doesn’t need to “get away” for a while? To simply get lost in another place and time? To explore new and exciting ideas that spark our creativity? To give our minds and spirits the healing balm of words wrapping around us?
Reading lets us fly: We can soar around the world or into a captive heart. We can unshackle our imaginations from our self-imposed limits and go anywhere and be anyone or anything we want. What freedom!
What a joy and a blessing to be readers! And what a joy and a blessing to write the words that other readers may someday read! Write on!