Lost and Found and Lost...

The small bookstore in the airport was actually quite well stocked. I shuffled the fiction section three times waiting for the book to find me.  I'm one who believes books select us rather than we select them, a time and a place for every thing under heaven.  But no book found me that morning.  I was crestfallen for I would have some time to read on this trip and I love to read, but I was passed over, nobody wanted me.  I recalled Mary Chapin Carpenter's lyrics: "...I was an orphan shoe from the lost and found/always missing the other."

My destination was a seaside town shy of major hotel chains but bold on what's known as the bed & breakfast.  Weeks earlier I had perused the online list trying to be a good steward of my travel budget.  In the end, it felt like the b&b found me; hard to explain, but that's how it felt.  I am learning in this my forty-third year that sometimes its wise to trust life.

It was after hours when I finally ascended the stairs to my room-for-one-up-under-the-dormer.  I passed a bookshelf that seemed on fire but was not consumed; it was actually some sort of neon night light that illuminated the entire second floor landing.  There, sandwiched between the latest from Nicholas Sparks and James Patterson, was a book definitely out of place, maybe even out of time - Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson.  I drew the book from the shelf, found my room, and removed my boots...for the next couple of days, I was on creaky hardwood floors, a.k.a., holy ground.

I had work to do on this trip and I believe I accomplished what I was tasked to do.  But in those moments of non-work, sabbaths stolen here and there, I did not wander the downtown nightlife to drink in the vibe or even traipse the boardwalk by ocean's edge and wink at old ladies.  No, I sat in a b&b filled by couples with romance on their minds, in a room under a dormer filled with doilies and a claw-footed tub, and read and read and read and read.  You see at first I was lost.  But I had been found.

Robinson's book is slow and plodding and filled with words I did not know and liberally peppered with hallucinogenic paragraphs that seem to go on and on and on with no end and the main characters are all females wrapped in life rending tragedies and the ending is not what I would have wanted.  I absolutely loved it.  I will not recommend it to you though, for then you might try to go out and find it, in a library or possibly an airport bookstore.  No, rather I will pray that somehow, in some way, this book will find you and on that day you will have the courage to take and read...and become lost.



  1. This ode to books needs to be inscribed on the cover of the NYT Review of Books. It is on a par with a certain Ode to a Grecian Urn. On this chilly, overcast day in Chicago, I think I've found my agenda. Blessings, bru.

  2. I am a firm believer in the books find us. I didn't know that was what I was doing, but I get it now. I often wander the aisles of the Library waiting for a book to grab me, and sometimes they don't and I leave empty handed, which I used to think was weird, but now I don't....