LIBRARIES, SWEET LIBRARIES

Libraries . . . magical, hypnotic, mysterious, enchanting, alluring, unforgettable . . . seep deep into our souls.

My earliest recollection of discovering all that a library gifts came and entered my life as a child growing up in St. Louis. In so many ways, I never left it -- a giant of wonder and possibilities. The sound that my footsteps made on the high-gloss, marble floors and my unsuccessful efforts to quiet them. The whispers that were barely audible, yet so intriguing. And then, the silence that fell like a weightless blanket. And over the years, I fell in love -- deeply in love -- with that silence, returing to its warm embrace over and over and over . . .

Libraries . . . a respite, without discrimination, for the young, the aged, and everyone in-between; the learned and the yearning to-be; book-seeking adventurers of knowledge or folly; the curious; the grief-stricken -- each seeking the treasure that is promised, that lies somewhere on a dusty shelf found only in a library.

Libraries . . . in the city that never sleeps, its gently-imposing lions tempting passersby . . . to the county public library book mobile that puttered to the small Appalachian town where I grew up in West Virginia . . . to the first time I discovered a Little Free Library, wanting only to give it a hug -- each and every one, grand.

But perhaps my favorite library is my own, that has grown along with me, reminding me that I've only scratched the surface in uncovering the myriad possibilities that dwell between the covers of a book. The poetry. The novels. The histories. The biographies. And the intoxicating -- deeply-intoxicating -- aroma that emanates from the mingling of ink on paper. Libraries, sweet libraries.

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