It's hard to believe that my last post was more than a week ago. Since then, we drove almost 1,500 miles, attended a wedding in Charlotte, NC, stayed with friends in Raleigh, NC, and drove 14 hours in a day to get back home.
The driving was tolerable, especially the last day--I kept thinking about getting back to my favorite reading chair, and my books, and drinking coffee while reading first thing in the morning. I also couldn't wait to see the progress of my big veggie garden--as it turns out, there was lots of rain while we were traveling, so there were lots of weeds to pull when I returned. Still, when you finish the first four hours of driving, and realize you still have ten hours left, it feels pretty stark, and all those things seem very far away.
Any bibliophile knows the feeling of leaving one's books, the sense of being separated from a major part of one's life. One also knows that the reunion with one's books is exciting: it feels like seeing them all anew. The morning after our trip, I sat down in my chair and, looking at the books on the shelves nearest to me, time spread out in front of me: no more trips this summer, seven more weeks until the fall semester begins, and no other major time commitments in the offing. I imagined myself reading all the ones that suddenly interested me again in the open time that lay in front of me. It was an exquisite feeling, though temporary. In that moment I felt, in part, the euphoria of returning from a trip; I always want those first few hours to last for a long time. They are the reward for the long trip home. But as time passes, and the reality of life at home breaks through the surface of that euphoria, the reward fades. But the books are still there . . .