Moonsong Highlight: My Library

"Life is a book, and there are a thousand pages I have not yet read." - Cassandra Clare

Suzy Q, Celeste, Doodle, Matilda, Hermes, Faustine, Bump, Jose, Pocket, Owen, Harry, HR, Bella, Lilly, Magic, and Chance. Sixteen horses and their loving owners made a recent trip to upstate New York one of the most memorable experiences of my life. So did other footloose travelers along the way, friendly locals at every stop, and openhearted hosts and animals that shared their spaces so hospitably. Those at home were never far from my mind. 

Travel is sacred and fundamental to me. Alone but never lonely, I carry with me (as we always do) the library of my life: every book another living being whose presence has informed my heart. What gratitude I have for my beautiful library! How I will never realize its depths.

How I long for enough time to hold every book in my hands a thousand times, to live by the lessons hidden in each page. I bow my head to read and remember…

There are those people and animals I’ve known most or all of my life. Their stories live in weathered, complex volumes whose meanings evolve with me. Rows and rows belong to them.

There are those I’ve met just in passing, but whose gesture or kind deed redirected a moment, a day, the dynamic web we all navigate together. They are picture books with few pages. Their covers are soft and pliable. I can slide them in anywhere along a shelf; their simple lessons always apply.

There are alarmingly magnetic books that sparkle and draw my eye. I reach for them quickly and without thinking, for they are irresistible! In my haste, those nearby tip and fall. Some tidying ensues, some apology, some reflection, but never any shame; we wrote a story together and it was important.

There are people and animals so solid that their sole function is to stabilize an entire row of other, less organized, less substantial beings. Unassuming, they’ve offered themselves and never held a grudge. I regret leaning on them without really knowing their stories.

There are comic strips, soft and worn from so much handling. I place them gingerly atop a shelf, as I’ll need to look at them often and giggle. Preserving them is the essence of lightheartedness.  

There are simple postcards, sent from afar. Their handwritten notes invite a sigh, a tilt of the head, a softening of the eye, a flutter of the heart. I touch the words just as I touched the creases of their aging faces, their hands or paws, their backs, their soft bellies. I remember the physicality of loving and being loved by them.

There are those that selflessly left pages blank for me. They held space for me when I was a tornado. I tossed them sideways onto a shelf and bent their pages in my carelessness. I couldn’t bear to read my own story in the context of theirs. Still, they wait patiently in my library.

There are those written in unknown languages. They have mismatched covers and are printed upside down. They don’t fit anywhere. They are the most painful, the most misunderstood, the most impossibly tortured and beautiful. They are perfect. I don’t need to read them. I cradle them in my hands, pull them to my heart, press them against my cheek, kiss their covers and smell their pages. We rock and sway together, humming the only song we were born knowing. Through each other, we find ourselves. We are safe together here, in the library.

Thank you, all of you, for your stories and lessons. You’ll never know what you mean to me. You’ll never know how many libraries you inhabit. Just by being who you are, you live forever. Thank you!