Sunday, January 4, 2009

In the Stacks

With Christmas and two birthdays in January, the proverbial bookshelf at Friley Road is overflowing. One of the things I am most proud of as a parent is my children's love of books and reading. I credit my husband with that! Don't get me wrong, I love books. My stacks are overflowing, especially with my return to grad school, but my husband, son, and daughter read like there is no tomorrow.

I have a budding photographer, so Annie Leibovitz was a given. Upon my son's return from his semester abroad in India studying sustainability and food issues, a copy of Michael Pollan's new book has found a home in his library. My husband's eclectic mix of reading material provided a feast for the kids in picking out books at the local book store for their father's birthday.

I did a little shopping myself on Amazon and found some used copies of books on my wish list: JB Jackson's landscape essays, and a favorite poetry book of Billy Collins. I am a history buff, especially Iowa's history, and now, the history of landscape architecture. This poem of Billy Collins is probably one of my favorite poems, ever...

The Lesson
In the morning when I found History
snoring heavily on the couch,
I took down his overcoat from the rack
and placed its weight over my shoulder blades.

It would protect me on the cold walk
into the village for milk and the paper
and I figured he would not mind,
not after our long conversation the night before.

How unexpected his blustering anger
when I returned covered with icicles,
the way he rummaged through the huge pockets
making sure no major battle or English queen
had fallen out and become lost in the deep snow.

-Billy Collins, Sailing Alone Around the Room, 2001

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