Sunday, December 02, 2007

Books in the Storm

What brings people out on a roaring, wet and windy day like this?

Books, that’s what. Books for our community book sale next Sunday.

There the three of us were in the old unheated, drafty Estby gas station. Tracy Stepp, Les Jevning and I were sorting the bodice-rippers from the Judaica from the Robert Ludlums, the James Micheners and the Danielle Steels.

Out of the gray gloom, the station wagons and hatchbacks pulled up to our storm-battered door to off-load more volumes.

Launched from the Pacific, the storm swept in sheets and gusts across our hills. Its wind and rain raced down Capitol Highway, buffeting and pelting the spartan garage turned book storehouse.

“There’s thunder!” Tracy announced, looking up from a stack of miscellanea teetering in front of her.

“There’s hardly ever thunder here.”

For years there were never books — now thousand of books— in the garage's lube-job, service bays.

Thunder and books happen, sometimes simultaneously, in strange places.

I came across Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar” and then, a few swirling gusts later, her “Ariel.” The slender volume of poetry bore an inscription, a fragment in the storm: “Take this book as a memory of me and your other friends here. Sylvia’s poems are like my step-mother. Treat her gently for she is frail.”

“Yvonne” had drawn a peace symbol before signing her name.

Our building trembled in the moaning wind as another book-laden car pulled in.

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