Yesterday, we walked to the library. This is not an unusual occurrence for us, despite the fact that the library is rather farther away than most people consider an easy walking distance, and yet it is an easy walk. First, there are sidewalks the entire way, and the road is entirely lacking in hills or valleys to make your legs work hard. Second, there are ample trees along the path to shade your head and provide a lovely cooling effect, never mind the ever-present joys of seeing this one in bloom and that one producing seeds, the squirrel chattering away over there, the chipmunk running along the branch over here, and the birds’ nests oh-so-very-high in the canopy of leaves.
It is not unheard of for us to stop dead along the way and crane our necks in an effort to catch a better glimpse of this creature or that. Or to reach up and examine a leaf with its odd spiky fungal growth that spreads back and forth from the cedar trees to the crabapples in alternating years, or marvel at the tiny round green marble-sized galls that infest the undersides of the oak leaves. Some days, we bring a small sack of bird seed and leave little piles here and there as a snack for our avian friends. The squirrels and chipmunks like the seed too, and often find it well before the birds do.
There is a corner store on the way to the library too. And a bakery – the most delightful little bakery that makes wonderful breads and pastries and croissants and quiche and tortiere. We go there a lot (is that any surprise?).
Sometimes, with all this looking about and stopping to watch and purchasing of snacks, the walk to the library takes about an hour. Yesterday, it took us 33 minutes. We were determined to get there, you see, for I had two children who were eager to track down the next book in a series.
B reads voraciously, and lately she has been reading the Magic Keepers series. She has also been reading the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson, and is loudly proclaiming to anyone who will listen that they must read the books too, because they are simply that good. K leans more towards non-fiction if you leave him to his own devices, but he is easily swayed and gets completely absorbed in fiction if he gives it half a chance. It isn’t unusual for him to judge a book solely on its cover, however, and despite weeks of begging him to read it for himself, B has not yet managed to get him hooked on Maximum Ride.
I have faith.
In the meantime, he took a dive into some old favourites this week, bringing home two Zac Power books (which he inhales in half an hour flat) and the most recent Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which he hadn’t read yet. He only meant to get three books, but before I could blink, he had a stack of five.
It was, for once, a rather restrained trip to the library.
A more normal visit has us filling our oversized library bag with so many books that we can’t fit them all in. A dozen books each is more typical of my kids, and I’ll often have a half dozen of my own plus another half dozen I think they would enjoy, too. We like to read around here.
We like to read so much that we don’t bother with trying to carry our bag of books all the long walk home from the library, oh no! We have a wheelie cart. We like our wheelie cart. It can easily hold twice as many books as we usually get. And yes, we know this because we have done this — more than once. In fact, we overfilled our poor little wheelie cart so often last year that the wheels fell off.
We try not to load our new wheelie cart quite so heavily. We want it to last a bit longer.
It probably isn’t going to last much longer.
Every so often, I look at our giant stack of books and think how on earth are we going to get through all of these books in just three weeks? For three weeks is how long the library lets us keep our books. Our dozens and dozens of books that we take out from the library every time we visit.
Time is a funny thing. Three weeks can feel like a century when you are waiting out the last three weeks of school before summer vacation starts. Three weeks can also feel like the blink of an eye at all when you are squeezing out every bit of joy from the last three weeks of summer vacation before the school bell rings once more. And when you are staring at a stack of books that is almost as tall as your children and a good bit taller than your four-year-old niece, three weeks feels like it is most definitely not nearly enough time at all.
This week, we decided to be good. Reasonable, rational, and restrained.
This week, we decided to get three books each, one for each week, because really, we have so many things to do and play and make, and school starts up again next week, and errands need to be run, pants that reach the ground instead of four inches above need to be bought, and shoes. Every season, it seems, K outgrows his shoes. His pants, too, but he doesn’t mind pants that are too short (though I most definitely do). He is going to be tall, that child, like his uncle M and Auntie N who both stretch way over my head despite being my younger siblings.
No, we have too many things to do over the next few weeks to get so many books, so three seemed like the perfect number.
We aren’t very good at being perfect, apparently, and each came home with 5 or 6 books and a solemn vow that we would try our best to finish them in time.
What on earth was I thinking???
K zipped through both Zac Power books after lunch, and finished the Diary of a Wimpy Kid this morning. He has two more books in his stack, plus Divergent on the Kindle, and judging by his progress, I suspect he’ll be done all three by Friday. B finished Magic Keepers #2 yesterday and is almost done #3 today and it is not even noon.
As for me? I’ve been working and embroidering — I finally finished the umbrella girl — and crocheting for a very special little boy who came into this world just a few days ago, and so I am only about 100 pages in to the first of my 3 books, but it is a good book, so I am sure I’ll be done in no time.
It’s a good thing the library is within walking distance. I have a feeling we’ll be heading back there before long.