Last night as I drove home from a teaching gig and some evening shopping, I chanced upon NPR's Hanukkah Lights. This is a feature that offers up to the listener specially commissioned stories by established authors during the Hanukkah season. I felt a physically soothing sensation as the well-crafted stories and remembrances moved through my ears to my brain and then to my heart. I felt connected with the world, more curious about people and place I've never been, and well, as cliche as it sounds, transported. It felt both like dreaming and being more awake at the same time. These are all the reasons I love words and books and poetry. I see pictures when I read or hear words and I can go places and see things through the act of reading or listening. I've been so busy in the past weeks that it has been difficult for me to focus on reading. I'm always thinking of the next place to be, the next obligation I've taken on, the next thing on the list, so much so that every time I do sit down to read I find my mind wandering back to the world where I live instead of taking that leap to spend some time in another world.
This unexpected, found moment I had last night in the BJ's parking lot was a good reminder of the power of beautiful words and the fact that I must make time for them in my life. I need to find a book that fits my mindset right now and get back the restoration that reading has always offered me in the past. I think right now reading feels a bit like another obligation. So, maybe it needs to not be a book-group book, or a book I feel I should be reading because of its historical significance or because someone recommended it. Maybe I just need to pick up a book that catches my eye and read. Only for the sake of reading. I haven't done that in a while.