Wednesday, July 18, 2012


In my desire to be fully present in life so that I can live more as a participant than a spectator, I have begun trying to be aware of my senses. Instead of blocking out the physical in favor of the interior landcape, I am stopping to smell the roses, so to speak.

Latest sensation to enjoy: books.

One of my Portenzo iPad cases is covered in buckram. (If you are not sure what a Portenzo is, I strongly urge you to get there——right away. They are superb craftsmen.) Buckram is the stiff cover material that you find on the old-fashioned bound periodicals. It has a very distinct feel, whether it's freshly made or worn with age.

My happiest sensory memories come from libraries. I love everything about books—the way they smell, the colors of the covers, the different typefaces, the weight in my hands.

When I find myself anxious, I find that I reach for the buckram covered ipad and stroke it lightly with my thumb and fingertips, ghosting over the engraved title (There and Back Again, with no apologies to Tolkein). It feels solid, stable, enduring and true.

I am not oblivious to the irony: I am a strong proponent of the e-book format. I rarely buy a physical copy of anything these days, because I have problems with storing them. My house is already filled with books, and I have rapidly run out of convenient shelving areas. I buy traditional books only when I treasure the content so passionately that I feel a strong urge to enjoy the heft, scent, and sound of pages turning. And even then I might get a virtual copy, for avid re-reading in my travels.

What makes you feel secure in this world filled with uncertainty?

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