January 5th, 2007

big book


There are 4 lilies in a vase in the kitchen, bold white trumpets pointing north, south, east and west; one for each direction covering every quadrant of airspace. The whole house smells like lilies, a sharp and stinging scent that gets up your nose and fills every cavity in your head with its intensity. It's strange to me that lilies are so connected with funerals, but perhaps the strength of their perfume covers a multitude of more unpleasant odors, masks decay, persuades the nose that death and beauty can coincide, if only for a short while.

Tomorrow is Epiphany, it's Twelfth Night tonight. I have taken Christmas down and begun packing it away, laying stockings and paper trees and advent calendars carefully in cardboard and bubblewrap. There is so much of it that it takes me several days to erase. A mountain of boxes marked XMAS in big black slashing marker are piled by the dining room table, awaiting their load of glitter, tinsel and stars. The tree will probably stand until evening tomorrow, though it will be bare by then, its stiff and paled branches revealed after the magic has been stripped away.

It's a weekend with no plans, just what I need. Today, a half day at work, found me driving away at midday to fetch the kids and then burrow into bed for a 2.5 hour nap, much needed. My body desires hibernation now, a gentle collapse after the mania of the holidays, a chance to shed some stress and read some books and settle like a deflated balloon, breathing quietly, speaking softly.

Last year I read 113 books, averaging 9 per month. The year before it was 110 books, and the year before that only 104. Since I don't keep track of the size of the books it's hard to say how much I really am reading wordwise or page-count-wise but I don't care about that (obviously, or I'd keep track). I find it interesting that in the past few years, since I started charting the books I read that I've been so consistent. My average books per month has stayed fairly steady no matter whether I am reading new unfamiliar books or re-reading old friends. Going back over the lists is like skimming an address book full of friends and acquaintances. Hello, good books, I think to myself, I hope I'll have a chance to visit with you again!