The smell of old books greeted me when I stepped through the door. It was my favorite type of used bookstore. The shelves were heavy laden with old books. Haphazard stacks of them crowded my feet. It was a treasure trove. A museum in which I could touch the artifacts.
After a few minutes of browsing, the bookshop owner poked his head around the nearest shelf. He was tall, with an absent-minded spray of gray hair. “I’m running to the post office. Probably be gone ten or fifteen minutes. You guys are in charge.” He gestured at Scott and me with a long finger. “If anyone comes in and wants to buy something, just have them leave the money on the counter.”
And with that, he was gone. We suppressed our laughter until he disappeared onto the street. I will never fail to delight in such small town interactions.
After he returned from his errand, we paid him four crumpled dollar bills for an Agatha Christie novel and continued on to our destination for the weekend: Acadia.
It’s been on our New England bucket list since we moved here five years ago, and finally, last weekend, we made it there. So much beauty.
The highlight of the weekend was our hike up Gorham Mountain. As we stood on the granite shelf at the summit, we seemed to be on top of the world. My ability to absorb the beauty was inadequate. The words “oh, it’s so beautiful,” uttered for perhaps the thousandth time that weekend, fell short.
“With shortness of breath, I'll explain the infinite
How rare and beautiful it truly is that we exist.”
The words from Ryan O’Neal’s (Sleeping at Last*) song “Saturn” sneak in at such moments. [If you haven’t listened to Sleeping At Last, you really must. It is a frequent writing companion.]
How beautiful it is that we exist. And that we were given a world of such beauty. That we were set loose to explore its mountains and seas and meet its quirky bookshop owners. That in all its vastness we are seen and loved by a Creator who calls us friends. So much beauty.