Saturday, September 25, 2010

Buried Treasure

The written word is a marvelous thing. It is mere paper and ink, yet contains more magic than anything else in today's skeptical world. Walt Disney once said, "There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island."

For those who are unfamiliar with the Harold B. Lee Library, there is a spacious room in the bottom-most basement level called the Social Sciences and Education section - I have visited this place because I happen to have a locker there. Compared to the more spacious parts of the library, this room does remind the scholar that she is, in fact, underground.

I was meandering through the European shelves in this section a couple days ago. I had no real purpose save to observe, but to put it in Disney's terms, I accidentally struck gold. I came across three little leather-bound books dating back to 1889 containing the folktales and legends of three northern European countries - all remarkably available for checkout. I took the first - from Scotland - back to my apartment. For the last week I have spent a little time every day in the Scottish highlands, dancing with the faeries, howling with the ghosts, and talking with the ancient ones of the river side and mountain towns. 

Books have always held a certain allure for me. It has been said that "Books are a uniquely portable magic." I couldn't agree more. I have travelled more, seen more, done more, and been more between the pages of a book than I could ever have hoped to accomplish in the real world. I have even continued the adventure in my own writings, in which a blank Word document is my "in the beginning" and I am free to create worlds. It is the nearest thing to true magic that I have ever experienced. 

As the Scots put it, may the wind be ever at your back! 'Til next time...

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