I live for library day

libraryThe new library at Linnaea Farm is the joy of my week. In the summer i’d ride around the lake to the farm, stopping at the produce stand for blueberries or peaches. I would choose a book from the library, then wander down the trail to the huge fallen log, strip off my clothes, and dive into Gunflint Lake. And then I would lie naked on the smooth old log among the bullrushes, reading my book and eating blueberries, or dozing in the sun to the sound of blackbirds and giant dragonflies. Careful not to drop the book in the lake.

Back in the day, the cramped little library was upstairs in Mansons Hall. Friday afternoons at the Hall were like Las Vegas, by Cortes Island standards. Library day coincided with the weekly Farmers Market, as well as post office, thrift store, credit union and cafe. As you can imagine, it was a pretty wild scene. Folks would cluster around the return bin waiting to see what movies people were bringing back. A good movie never hit the bottom of the canvas bin before someone scooped it up and checked it back out again. Friday felt like a dud without a trip upstairs to check out the stacks.

But in the past few years, the Island has fallen on quiet times. The Cortes Cafe was shut down by the health inspectors (true enough, there was an entire ecosystem living behind the kitchen stove – I saw it when they ripped it out). The Credit Union closed last July, and the Friday Market took a hard blow from overzealous regional regulators. The library’s weight of books was threatening to crash through the ceiling of the thrift shop and so, it was forced to close. For almost three years the island was without a library. Those were dark days. But now finally—finally!—the library is back.

Yesterday the library lady (who drives a little pedal-powered car) pulled my own Norman Fischer book out of the return bin where I had accidentally dropped it. Isn’t this about mindfulness? she said drily, as she passed it over the counter.

Nella was there—she’s a Wednesday regular, too. We recommended each other two movies each, to check out. Next week we’ll compare notes. I discreetly cruise the hold shelf just to see what everyone else on the island is reading. Hm. Six days to go. Counting down to library day.

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