Sunday, April 4, 2010


Audrey Niffenegger's Henry DeTamble, librarian and time-traveler extraordinaire, said it best: "All my pleasures are homey ones: armchair splendor, the sedate exactments of domesticity. All I ask for are humble delights. A mystery novel in bed, the smell of Clare's long red-gold hair damp from washing, a postcard from a friend on vacation, cream dispensing into coffee, the softness of skin under Clare's breasts, the symmetry of grocery bags sitting on the kitchen counter waiting to be unpacked. I love meandering through the stacks at the library after the patrons have gone home, lightly touching the spines of the books. These are the things that can pierce me with longing when I am displaced by Time's whim." Indeed, these are some of my most favorite things - including the book in which this quote can be found. But in times of stress or sadness, when I am chilled or ill, a cup of tea is often what's needed. The steaming cup to wrap my hands round is part of the ritual and the rightness of it all that I can always count on to comfort me.

Clean sheets dried on the line, hot baths spent reading Jane Austen by candlelight, cups of tea, peeling socks off too-warm feet, British sitcoms, the clang of dinner construction, my parents' living room, a particular black sweater on a cold winter day, the smell of boy hair warmed by the sun, books by Madeleine L'Engle and Anne Tyler, movies starring Tom Hanks, M humming into my hair, sipping solitary coffee on the front porch in the morning, the first sip of the first glass of wine after a complicated day, a hefty pile of manuscript pages, red beans and rice with kielbasa and broccoli.

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