Curious thing about a job in busy corporate America is the abundance of paid time off. Holidays, vacation, personal time. The twist is the cog never stops and often the worker bee is a one-man band, meaning taking all allotted time in a calendar year can be tricky. Thus the “one day aways,” a planned day from the office. Years and years back, a one-day-away on the horizon, my then boss asked, “So what are doing with your day off?”
“I’m spending it at the library.”
After a chuckle, I explained not just any library but the Boulder Public Library, and back in the day when cash was scarce the BPL provided an afternoon of cheap escape. I could lose myself for hours in biographies and non-fiction, flip through issue after issue of Rolling Stone. When hunger hit, a leisurely stroll the café that sat on an open windowed bridge over the Boulder Creek. Chicken salad sandwiches on rosemary bread and an exotic iced tea. Sometimes a chocolate-chip-oatmeal cookie. And words. Millions and millions of words, books tattooed with history and fading date stamps inside both covers.
Now living nearer Denver than Boulder, I hadn’t been in years until this afternoon. A new old friend was sharing fables and her true (and false) stories of childhood. She’s a storyteller by trade and I hadn’t yet had the chance to hear her speak. She integrates stories and movement, yoga. She’s both a beauty to drink in and listen too, many times my head cocked very far left as I absorbed Indian folklore and fairy stories. We don’t share stories enough anymore, allow children to whisk their imaginations away to Indonesia or a dark forest where a gold tree shimmers with diamond leaves or a embrace a brave mouse as he transforms through bravery and selflessness into a grand eagle.
That she encourages me to share my stories, in more formats than here, is a compliment of the highest order. I'm in awe of her.
But when did the parking at the library become paid? Free on Sundays, but a not too gentle reminder of cash strapped times and monies needed to fund simply exploring, opening to ideas, sharing in a community. Provide a place for the homeless to go BM (stole that from Family Guy.)
There really is no other town like Boulder, Colorado. After a hug goodbye, took myself on a stroll down the pink paves of the Pearl Street Mall, stopped in a sweet shop for a childhood favorite, grabbed an iced coffee with a sprinkle of the same sweet cinnamon I now stir into my mug every morning, felt the sun beat on my shoulders. Walked past the outdoor terrace of a little Italian place where just a Sunday ago I’d shared small plates with good company while drinking in Chianti and passers-by.
I think I’m smitten again. I know I am.