When I was a kid, I loved hiking deep into the woods behind our home, going as far as I could out of sight of any signs of humanity – no buildings or roads, just me, the trees, the ferns, the deer and rabbits and babbling brooks.
If I went with a friend, we’d pretend to be Lewis and Clark. Exploring new lands, meeting natives, hunting the wildlife. If I went by myself, I’d imagine how I’d cross the wildest rivers, how I’d fight off any villains, how the animals would be kind to me, and how I’d get back home if by chance I did truly lose my way… but I knew that last bit wouldn’t happen. I trusted my sense of direction then, and I do now. Unless I’m in a hurry, getting lost doesn’t bother me. I guess I’ve always felt a sliver of excitement about the unknown.
And so it is with a book. You might know the gist of a story, but you don’t know exactly how it’ll unfold; how that book’s particular stringing of words will feel, what pictures will form in your mind’s eye, how the characters’ voices will sound to your inner ear. You don’t know whether you’ll laugh or cry, you don’t know what you might learn, you don’t know what parts of yourself will become undone or rediscovered or lit up. Once in a while you even get bored and jump ship. But most of the time it’s an adventure, a grand foray into untapped territory, a magnificent way to get lost for a little while (without wondering how you’ll get back).
So, after the holiday comings and goings, after the hubbub has quieted and the “have-to’s” aren’t so pressing, I can think of little better than opening a good book. By the fire, with tea, (and yes, some chocolate waiting on the stove) ~ and get lost for a bit. Just me, the words, the pages, the plots, and maybe even some villains and babbling brooks.
P.S.: I have a partial listing of books I’ve read over the years, with favorites noted, here on my “Reading Room” page. I also have a shelf of them over at GoodReads if anyone wants to follow and share good reads. 🙂