Saturday, December 26, 2009
I Bought Myself a Present
Nathaniel Hawthorne, House of the Seven Gables
Do you buy presents for yourself? Each year I find myself thinking that around Christmas time, the robes and slippers are the most luxurious, the colognes and perfumes are the most enticing, and the earrings I could never find are suddenly everywhere.
But what I buy for myself most often are books.
A couple of weeks ago, I happened upon a reference to When Wanderers Cease to Roam -- A Traveler's Journal of Staying Put by Vivian Swift. It wasn't in the library, and it had not been in the bookstore since 2008. So, sight unseen and fingers crossed, mailorder -- here I come. When the book arrived on my doorstep a few days ago, I hardly had time to open the box, much less give it a thorough review, but I knew at a glance I would not be disappointed. It is hand-lettered, beautifully illustrated with watercolor and drawings, and contains quotes, lines of poetry, and the author's observations of her daily life.
As an example, some of the entries are: Small Pleasures Worth Staying Home For; Things That Keep You Warm in January; Tea Cup Travel; Rain Book; A Walker's Lost and Found; A Memoir of Close Calls in Three Miniscule Chapters; Kinds of Snow. (The above Nathaniel Hawthorne quote is from one of the September pages.)
I wish I could keep a journal just like this one. I wish I could draw. I wish I could paint. But maybe, if I wish upon a star....
Of course, as I think about it, it's obvious! I can make my own notes of small pleasures worth staying home for, the things that keep me warm in January, and I can look for treasures as I take a walk. The painting, however, -- well, that's another story.
When Wanderers Cease to Roam: A Traveler's Journal of Staying Put