In a fortnight, or a paksha (Sanskrit for half a lunar month Wikipedia tells me), the movers arrive. I have packed twenty-four boxes so far; fourteen of them are full of books. Sorting, shredding, bubblewrapping and taping it all up, I feel like a turtle whose home is far bigger than its body might need. At one point I found a torn back cover of a paperback on the floor. J.R.R. Tolkien smiled up at me, and I thought of hobbit holes.
Of course, when Bilbo Baggins went on an adventure, he threw a birthday party and ostentatiously disappeared. How cozy were those hobbit holes and elven treehouses, perfect for taking tea and reading, or in the latter, gazing at the stars.
After much debate, I’ll take a table, an overstuffed chair, and a lamp. I wish that were all, because on the page, it is so perfectly adequate. But there’s the bed, the bookshelves, a desk, and another lamp. Plus forty-four boxes.
This poem arrived in my email today, via Ivan M. Granger’s wonderful Poetry Chaikhana site: http://www.Poetry-Chaikhana.com/:
|A nightingale’s songBy Ryokan
(1758 – 1831)English version by John Stevens
A nightingale’s song
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“Ode to the Nightingale” by john Keats
One thing I will miss very much when I move is my kitchen window. Shaped like a rectangle, having a latch that lets me open it out like a porthole, it’s a source of pleasure. At night, I let down and shut the venetian blinds. In the morning, no matter what season, I feel a touch of excitement at what the day might be like. Because of where I live, snow would not be out of place in warm weather.
There is one thin tree, almost Japanese in its artistry, with a tiny temple bell hung on its branch. The wooden fence is a beautiful mixture of tans and browns, and the space feels like a private oasis. That’s why when I pull up the blinds, it’s as if I’m receiving a gift.