It’s off Grant, the Columbus Public Library. I don’t really know HOW to get here; but I am always able to find it. I think I can smell the books.
Walking in, you have to look UP. Everything draws your eyes up: the staircase, recently painted in blood oranges and navy blues…a mural about Columbus; the ceilings inviting you to a place higher than where you are. Walking in feels like your mind is being physically unlocked from the outside in.
Spacious. Tables a plenty with plugs for laptops and planes for books and writing things and cell phones, on mute.
One patron; 20-something, yellow shirt screaming, earbuds connecting ears to army backpack. He peruses the clear plastic racks of music, cds clicking as he seeks.
No more than two, she hides behind a pillar, peeking out at her father who feigns concern over her whereabouts while wandering right to her. She squeals; he hushes and lifts.
Thinking is infused into the atmosphere. I think, observe, write, think…it reminds me of being in Las Vegas, where mood-altering-oxygen-bars fill weary gamblers’ lungs enabling them to go back to the slots for one more hour. I see the picture in my book at home, “The World of Pooh,” in which Pooh Bear is stuck and repeating his mantra: “think, think, think.”
Of course, patrons fight the thinking part: a cell phone game is being played to my left; a student sleeps on top of open books and half-written papers. I fantasize about packing up to go for coffee.
Odd. Libraries. Treasure-troves of knowledge, art, words. Free.
Words, my lifeblood. An alcoholic in a liquor store.
And still, a tension: we learn, that in the library we receive:
words: to read, to consider, to inspire, to teach…
We are taught: drink them in with your eyes. Sort them. Stack them. Copy them.
And like Jesus, sternly admonishing his disciples in the Gospel of Mark after they witness a miracle, we know the drill:
Tell no one.