I have had a library card for as long as I can remember. I can still picture the library in the city I grew up in; it was a big old brick building in park in the middle of the city.
On summer days when it was too hot to play outside, the peace of the library was a cool haven away from the summer heat, filled with books that could take me places I could only imagine.
Sometimes, the library came to me in the form of a bookmobile that parked just down the street from where we lived. I always visited the bookmobile and stocked up on a fresh stack of books that I could lose myself in for a few hours.
I started taking my children to the library when they were infants; they grew up going to the library. Whenever I wanted to learn about something new, I went to the library. I learned to quilt by reading library books; I learned about my Mennonite heritage by reading library books; I learned how to take care of cats by reading library books; I learned what it meant to have faith by reading library books.
When we moved to the Pacific Northwest three years ago I stopped going to the library. Every time we drove past I would say "Oh, I have to sign up for a library card" but I never fot around to it.
Something prompted me to turn into the parking lot of the library this afternoon, to walk through the tree lined courtyard, to open the glass doors, and to go inside. I walked up to the counter, told the lady I wanted to sign up for a library card, filled out a sheet of paper, showed her my ID, and just like that I held in my hand a brand new library card.
Card in hand, I walked through the library getting a feel for where everything was. The familiar Dewey Decimal numbers posted on the ends of the shelves directed me to the sections I once spent so much time in. My body remembered the library-posture of tilting my head to the right to read the titles on the spines of the books. My mind recalled the hours I spent in a library browsing, reading, forgetting everything else except the books.
I checked out three books from section 305 (They have self-checkout now!) and as I left the library with my books in my arms, my walk seemed a little bouncier, and I seemed to breathe a little easier.
Having obtained a library card I guess I am officially planted here for now.
I guess I'm home.