Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Quest for Silence

A recently published study notes that one of the things people value most about libraries are the quiet space they provide. Having a quiet safe space to read or just think was viewed as more important than research resources and internet access. It was only after reading this study that I really considered how much I too value quiet.

Growing up, I was always trying to find a quiet place to continue my adventures in Narnia, to help Encyclopedia Brown get his man, or to keep Wayside School from falling down. I remember sneaking out of the house on cold crisp days, laying in the backseat of my parent's car, kept warm by the sun shining through the windows. On warmer days I would just head off into the woods with a book in my hand. I found a perfect place next to a very small stream underneath several large trees. I built a bridge over the stream and I would sit on it listening to the water run beneath me as I turned page after page. At night, I would lay in the bathtub long after the water had grown cold getting one last chapter in, periodically answering my Mother's knock on the door, assuring her that I had not drowned. I loved spending time with my extended family over the holidays, but whenever we visited Mamaw's I would bring a book along. As the evening hours crept in I would sneak to the back of the house and make my way upstairs to continue my reading.

Perhaps this love of quiet places explains my fascination with Jean Craighead George's My Side of the Mountain, a book about a boy who escapes from his eight brothers and sisters to live in the wilderness of Upper State New York. If I could find a hollowed out tree like Sam Gribley, I thought, I bet I could get some reading done. Every time my mother took my sister and I to the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History I tried to figure out how I could live there like Claudia Kincaid did in From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. How nice and quiet it would be at night.

I remember waking up by myself in the house one day during summer vacation. I took a book outside on the porch and just sat and listened to the quiet. It was so quiet I felt like I might be the only person left in the worldI always thought it would be cool to be in this guy's shoes, especially as I have 20/20 vision.. It was perfect.

Nowadays my house is filled with the screams and laughter of two perfect little children. I can't begin to describe the joy they have brought to my life. And yet, I think I might be overdue for a trip to the library.

1 comment:

  1. kbehymer,

    Will you please update your Blog? I have been waiting and checking on it for over a year and 2 months now. Please post a "Hiatus" or "Shutting Down This Blog" message.

    ~A devoted reader of your Blogs