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January 13, 2022: Up and Down

I sometimes think of what it must have been like, at Columbia Gardens in Butte, Montana. It was a park, with a carousel, and a lovely garden. The powers that be ripped it out and put in an above-ground copper mine. The site is now a huge, toxic pit. One year, a dozen snow geese landed on the supposed lake and immediately died. This is how toxic it is.

Why do we humans do these sorts of things? What is it in our brain circuitry that makes us intent on destroying everything around us that is so beautiful? And we never seem to learn.

People excited about books in the VCRS bookstore

What’s most amazing to me is that what happened at Columbia Gardens is the norm. The earth is so large that it’s taken a while for us to be affected by the devastation. But now, yes, we are being affected.

We are not going to die quickly, but, rather, slowly. Those who are older are going to suffer the most in that we remember what it was like to hold the gone, beautiful things dear.

Me, I’m in the business of saving books, made from paper products. Every day I look in awe at the artistry in children’s books. And at night, I’m blown away by the accompanying texts. I have so many books to deal with that I am not able to enjoy them all.

I often think about throwing my hands up in the air and saying that I can’t do any more, that the Bright Lights Book Project is a Sisyphean task. Yeah, I feel like I’m pushing a large rock up a steep hill with a broken nose. And behind me is a guy (it’s always a guy) with a whip in his hand, telling me to move on, or else. . . .

Then I have days like today in which I know, with great certitude, that what I am doing is worth the effort. Today, for example, at the Meeting House, a steady stream of people came by, all as invested in making the world a better place.

Nan and Lois came and sorted through boxes and boxes of kids’ books. The Mormon missionaries came and assisted in doing micro and macro organizing. Bea came and we shared drafts of our work-in-progress. Bill the downstairs AA guy, came and talked with me for some time about Meeting House plumbing particulars. And then, a family, a grandmother, mother, two teenage daughters and a younger son, came and selected books. From the onset they were ecstatic about their finds, and their enthusiasm did not waver the entire time they were browsing.

This did my heart good. The teenagers were the most enthusiastic. In fact, one asked if she could look in the boxes that tomorrow, are going to Colony High School. I got the cutter and let her select books.

And I thought, as these individuals all owwed and ahhed over one another’s selections, that they won’t become dependent upon Kindles for their reading livelihood. No, they’ll value fine art and respect the paper that it’s printed on.

Yes, it was a day that indirectly gave me hope for the future of this planet. Book readers don’t need to wake up. They are already awake.

Next: 14. 1/14/22: And at the End of a Long Day

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