Saturday, October 25, 2008

These Days

"She heard the click of the typewriter. It was her life, and, bending her head over the hall table, she bowed beneath the influence, felt blessed and purified, saying to herself, as she took the pad with the telephone message on it, how moments like this buds on the tree of life, flowers of the darkness they are, she thought ... one must pay back from this secret deposit of exquisite moments."
-Virginia Woolf, from Mrs. Dalloway

I wanted to sit down Friday afternoon and tell you about the most perfect morning but the day, as always, got away from me, and before I knew it we were walking around the city on a very chilly night whispering little gratitudes back and forth about our luck in finding this place. But now, as Saturday night nudges the weekend a little closer to its close, I thought I'd share a little of what it's been like this weekend, not including, but not forgetting, lots of reading and writing for classes.

Yesterday morning found me with a little time to myself with Andrew at an interview and no classes or work ahead, so I took a walk to the coffee shop on the corner to redeem my free drink and spend a little time with the always lovely Clarissa Dalloway, a thoughtful gift from Andrew for our three year anniversary. I love the shuffle of a Friday morning in a coffee shop. The people slowing working their way in, some sharing the day off, a few taking their first break of the day, others running somewhere they've almost just forgotten. There are brief wishes for grand weekends and sighs of relief from days past. On the way home I stopped into one of the used bookshops on the way, one of two directly across the street from each other.

Above is a shot of one isle in the store. I could estimate it's somewhere around eight times this size. It really is huge and full of so much, so many beautiful, old, well-worn books, I am sure I tremble just a bit upon entering, partly from joy, and possibly a little from fear of having to sell my body to buy what I want to take home with me. I often think the staff is wondering when I'll show up with a sleeping bag and percolator asking directions to the sink and bathroom.

This morning we maintained our Saturday routine: Andrew wakes up, closes the pocket doors between the bedroom/office and living room/kitchen, turns on NPR, and begins to make coffee and clean the kitchen; I wake shortly after, pull myself to the computer and spend the next forty minutes or so posting on the blackboard for one of my courses and catching up with friends online, fueled by coffee and juice from a kindly husband and sometimes, if I'm lucky, a little something to nibble. With my assignment done and the kitchen gleaming, we head to the market to say our weekly hellos to the farmers, their edibles, and wares. We pick up our coffee for the week, keep ourselves from spending our fortune on multigrain loaves and fresh local cheeses, and head off to the next adventure.

This Saturday, much like last, included a book sale at a library in a neighboring town, so once again we hopped in the car and headed towards the mountains, windows cracked to let the chill fill the car just enough to warrant hot coffee and cocoa upon our arrival. After loading our arms full of beautiful old books and making small talk with the most adorable women totaling our ten cent books, we walked down main street, taking in a few shops, smiling through the steamy bakery windows. I'd like to tell you that we made it through this time without succumbing to the charm and sweet smells billowing out from said bakery doors, but friends, we buckled, pooled our pennies, and went inside to ask for an almond cookie. It really hurts me to tell you that there is no more left, that I cannot share that fantastic baked jewel with you. Instead, I'll tell you that if you visit, and you agree to wait while I putter for an hour or so through the library, I will purchase for you your own almond cookie that you may enjoy without sharing.

On the way home we stopped at the Salvation Army for a quick look around. It is dangerous, with a curious husband like mine, to let him wander around on his own. There is always the moment when you've got your head in a pile of tupperware lids, looking for the right fit, when you hear your name whispered, but not really (is there such a thing as a loud whisper?), over the tops of the shelves, only to find upon standing a large husband who never really knows his height and size, bounding towards you with his finds. Today, however, I lost track of Andrew as I dug through old bins of advertising pencils, giving him just enough time to finally find something I wouldn't send him away with Charlie Brown style. Today my very lucky husband found this:

A slide projector. In its original case. With replacement bulbs. And someone's old slides from 1972. Really, I think I squealed, but contained myself. For $4.99 it seemed like a good idea, whether it worked or not, so we took it to the counter and waited for our total. Oh, wait, did you know that today must be my un-birthday? Because sweet readers, this projector was 50% off. At home with the lights off and our stomach in knots as we flicked the tiny metal switch and sat in the glow of someone else's memories, thankful for our $2.50 steal, dialing my mother to beg for her childhood slides. Magic, it was, just magic.

Tonight we enjoyed Moroccan vegetable stew, made surprisingly well with the recipe still lost from the move, bellinis, and some television on dvd. It's getting late and I never make it much longer than this, so I think I'll leave this post with a few photos of my favorite slides, little glimpses into lives once lived, and now, on the only clear wall we could find in a hurry, lived again, in our little second floor apartment in Bellingham, WA.


Zach said...

"She belonged to a different age, but being so entire, so complete, would always stand up on the horizon, stone-white, eminent, like a lighthouse marking some past stage on this adventurous, long, long voyage, this interminable--this interminable life."

A lovely post, my dear.

K A R I™ said...

What a great find!

heather said...

oh my goodness. i am so in love. the bookstore and the slide show pictures are amazing.

p.s. yes, it is really me.