I remember this feeling.
I finished reading the book I was on, and now I’m left with that delicious, satisfied melancholy that hangs around after an author has pulled me along by the hand through the storm of a great story.
This year, my reading list has been a bit more spare than usual, since I’ve spent a lot of time writing this blog and reading those of others. But I’ve missed that feeling of getting so wrapped up in a book that housework be damned I have to see how it turns out.
Remember the days of never making it out of your pajamas because you couldn’t put down a book? Or staying up until 3 o’clock just to finish one, even if you had to go to work in the morning? It’s a bit less practical to do that these days, since the kids’ principal is a bit of a stickler about them showing up at 7:55 every day, no matter how tired their mama is, but I still try to grab pieces of that feeling where I can.
And why not? It’s good for the kids to see that, and it’s good for me.
I want them to know that feeling of being filled up with the magic of words, words that can wash over you like the tide coming in on a rocky beach, filling all the empty places with churning sea water. With sentences that can make you say my god, someone else gets it.
(I love those moments…)
If the beach is the soul, then the sand becomes something to be traded, replaced, and we let go of how we thought the world looked just one page before and allow ourselves to accept a new possibility, a new way to see. The rocks, the hard places inside that just chapters before lay bleaching in the sun, suddenly become something alive, something for the tide to curl itself around and soak into.
A soul, drinking.
In time, of course, the feeling will pass. The book will take its place on a shelf, the tide goes back out, and I’ll be left feeling much the same as I was before, but changed in a way that’s hard to quantify. The best stories leave behind pieces, undeniable shards of the human condition that lie like sea glass or jingle shells on the beach. Sadness. Satisfaction. Pain. Heroic acts. Consequences. A happy ending, or sad. The lost. The found. The redeemed.
And the hope – always the hope – that real life will leave us, every now and then, with the same feeling.