There was a patter of rain on the roof late last night after I had turned in. It has rained every night since coming to the cottage, but contrary to what one might think, it has become a welcome and calming sound…the rain and wind. By morning the sea breezes have dried the generous circle of deck and I step out, with arms wide open, thinking that yet again, I am queen for the day!
I pull the three homemade quilts up close to my chest. I fluff and organize against the wooden headboard, my four pillows, their covers neatly edged with stitchery of one kind or another. The sheets and pillows both feel like cool soft butter.
There is a warm light emitted from the lamp at my bedside and I read until I finish A Box Garden by Carol Shields. Charleen is not the best of protagonists for me. Carol Shields was a master of character-writing, but I fall in love with Charleen’s mother. There is nothing better for women-readers than a Shields novel, even when less-widely read. Given my present setting, the feeling of this place and the fact that I was holding in my hands a yellowed second hand book…and read it in one evening, just contributes to how well I will remember and love the book. Sometimes what makes a book glorious is as much the experience of the book-reading as the story itself.
I love Brother Adam of the Priory…the one who writes the letters to Charleen. I like that he writes to her and I like that he sends her the box garden. I don’t like him so much for who he has been or becomes, but because of his love for grass growing, the great and wondrous expanse of green and what it does for the spirit. Grass is used also in Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury. I remember and continue to treasure those chapters. Shield’s book brings that back for me.