Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Between Two Pictures

The day after we moved into this apartment two years ago I set up a bookcase in the living room. My family and I were fresh off an extended European vacation, and most of our material world, such that it was, still sat packed in boxes at my in-laws’ house thirty minutes away. We had no table to eat on. We had one bath towel to share. My son wanted his CDs. And with the chill of winter hanging in the March air the kerosene heater would have come in handy.

Naturally, all this would be addressed in due time.

‘We need more blankets,’ my wife yelled from the top of our new staircase as I was grabbing the car keys.

Blankets and books, I said to myself. I need a few good books.

I imagined the warm sun coming in through our sliding glass doors as I flipped through picture books of Iceland and Hokkaido and a dozen US National Parks. I had a couple of kids’ adventure books from Germany. I had a series of books on learning Mandarin, along with a variety of books on Japan – the language, the culture and a smattering of literature in the Japanese original. My wife kept handy a stock of travel magazines; I would add a few tomes on the world’s major religions. Together, these rows of printed and bound treasures would serve as the catalyst of my aspirations.