Thursday, 4 March 2010

The Child That Books Built.

To books in a moment.

But first, it's been a very slow week this week, due mainly to me putting my back out last weekend and having to go at a snails pace. I know this is no bad thing, and in many ways it's my body giving me a very strong message to slow down, do less.


In spite of my discomfort, I have been thoroughly enjoying the arrival of spring. Instead of rising in darkness each morning, I get up to the beginnings of dawn, to beautiful cool blue skies and blooming tangerine tinged clouds, the quiet garden a palette of jade like an opaque frosty painting through my window. And the moon on it's way to bed, a stripy orange tiger moon slung low over the pink mountaintops, sinking away into tomorrow, barely saluting the sun as it sidles up over the sea, beginning the day.


And the day holds a ghostly haze over itself, softening the distant view, blurring and blending in pale hues that stir up memories of distant shores and other stories we made.


All week I have been held afloat by stories. Stolen moments that are little snapshots that form a curiously familiar resonance. As I am forced to pause, letting the carousel slow and gradually stop, I see My Only Girl unknowingly follow in my childhood footsteps, her unquenchable thirst for books, for new stories, taking her path in eager, single-minded directions. And I am amazed to see a confidence, only recently acquired, as she purposefully navigates her way through the doors and out into the world where she can go after what she wants, and boy is she persistent!


And so, surrounded by piles of books, bought, borrowed, received, and in between high spirited, busy socialising, she submerges herself in other worlds, and no world is left unexplored.


And for myself, my strange book famine continues, with my usual pile of bedside books left lying, gathering dust, while stories stream out of my head in an unstoppable torrent. An interior world now populated by people whose voices I cannot quiet. 



Yet though I do not read for myself, each day ends with a little row of heads on my pillows, and the soft rustle of pages turning as eager faces listen quietly, and they hear about Mole and Ratty and Toad, and Gulliver, and Aladdin, and Alice. And as the book closes softly, and night draws around us, I marvel at the power of the tale, the fathomless, resounding chimes that each one creates deep inside the heart of a child. A staggering wealth that is created in a place so deep I wonder do we ever know it's true importance.

33 comments:

ladybug-zen said...

beautiful post, Ciara. lovely photos too. hope you feel better soon.

Mimi said...

Oh Ciara, you've put so beautifully into words exactly how I feel about the gift of stories and books.
I am a very reluctant reader, but I made absolutely sure for my kids to hear that rustle of pages every night, because, you're right, it is a lifelong gift.
And I agree about your body giving you a message to slow down and do a bit less for a bit!

´´Saray´´ said...

Gorgeous post, are these all your books at home? It´s amazing. I used to have a collection that big but with moving country so often I now only carry my favourite 70 novels or so.
Hope your back is on the mend soon.

affectioknit said...

So sweet - we love our books too! We have the family reading hour - where we all pile up on the big bed and read - sometimes each his own book and sometimes together - such a great way to share...

Elizabeth said...

There's nothing like them -- the books, the objects themselves, what they contain and our voices evoking them. Thank you for a beautiful post.

Martin H. said...

You know it's all going in the right direction when a three year old brings you a book to read. Few things provide such magical moments.

Ciara said...

I love how the subject of books speaks so, to so many people!

Saray, yes all these photos are taken at home. The big pile in the first picture are no longer in that particular spot, but still waiting for bookshelves. You can see where they are over on my Flickr. C x

Jenea said...

Hi dear Ciara! You are the owner of the library? :)
It's very Awesome! I like to read too diferently books and magazins! This book's world is very amazing and interesting!
Have a funny weekend! =)

acornmoon said...

I can see the little row of heads!

What riches you have bestowed onto your children.

Susan said...

Hello Ciara....I do so love books. I'm so glad you read nightly to those little ones. That is a gift that they will treasure forever. Sincerely, Susan from writingstraightfromtheheart.blogspot.com

MissKris said...

My mother once told me I would never be lonely if I had a good book in hand. Truer words were never spoken. We didn't have TV when our children were little. We depended on books, music, and getting out for long walks as our means of entertainment. I have passed on my love of books to my daughter. She owns at least a thousand, I'd say. Books are the keys to the kingdom, don't you think?

passport in my pocket said...

I love this post! I too adore books and they enrich my life on a daily basis. We need to swap some recommendations ;)

Stephanie V said...

What wonderful piles of books. All just begging to be dipped into - if not actually read from cover to cover. I like the assortment, old, new, pocket and kids. Lovely post.

mise said...

I like how your many books are residents of the house in their own right, Ciara. And I so believe in the importance of books for children, especially children from 6-12 or so who have learned to read by themselves and are deciphering life. It gives them a whole intricate structure in which to place their lives, and one that is independent of their immediate surroundings, as well as a huge new escapist pleasure. Your children will have an invaluable scaffolding that'll stand them in very good stead.

Dreamfarm Girl said...

A heartfelt post about the wondrous land of books, the best way to travel to worlds unknown. Reading to children is the best way to give the incredible gift, the love of the written word, to children -- while nurturing one's own love as well.

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Rebecca S. said...

I'm not sure if there is anything so beautiful as a good children's book. Sometimes, when I look at my shelves I am amazed at how much each small rectangle holds, how many worlds I have visited (and my children have visited), and how many perspectives I have lived. What a gift they are.

HKatz said...

That's one of the best gifts you could give to a child - a house full of books. Books to explore on one's own or to read together before bedtime (or other moments during the day).

Beautiful post and tribute to literature, especially children's literature (Wind in the Willows was one of my favorites as a kid).

Annah said...

Saul,4, woke in the middle of the night asking me how much his toes and fingers were again. I told him 20, again and he said, 'Yay, thats how many days I have with my books from the library'!

I love the photos Ciara, I want to curl up with a stack...... Hope you are on the mend..

Jessie said...

It's a wonderful gift you're giving your children, something that will live with them for ever and be passed on to others. They're so lucky to have such a lovely mum :)xx

O'Daly John said...

Very nice post !
And as always, very nice pictures. I love the first one !

Fiona said...

I love this post and the photos of the books. Isn't it great how books can transform a house into a very intriguing and interesting place to be. I love how each book collection is so unique to the people that live in the house.

Paddy said...

Now, where is that one due back next week?

jaboopee said...

Yay! for the unstoppable torrent and yay for books ,

Jayne said...

Oh! Can I come and live in your house please?! I aspire one day to have a book-filled house where they are proudly on display and show signs of love and use. My books lie in wait in boxes for the day I can spring them free!

DeMo said...

*sigh* You make spring sound even lovelier.

stopping in from google reader recommendations.

Kato said...

Such a magnificently beautiful post, both in words and in pictures. You are wonderful when it comes to creating a magical world on this blog.

I imagine your life as a magical place as well.

Thank you for that Ciara!

Whitney said...

I look forward to reading your blogs, though I have yet to comment! :( I especially love this one! I am an avid reader of anything put before me! Unfortunately, I am also a military wife and that means moving around is in my future, so my library must remain small for now. I am quite envious of all your books! Your children are extremely blessed to acquire the love of reading at such a young age, as was I. :)
Keep up the great work! And I hope your back feels better soon!

Gigi said...

Gorgeous thoughts and images, Ciara. I've slowly started reading novels again, but, honestly, while I work on my book, I mostly want to be in the world of my characters, so I hear you loud and clear! There's only so much space in my head, and these characters in my story want nearly all of it.

Thanks for this peek at you books!! xoxo

firespark said...

This is SUCH a beautiful post! And so true! The power of the tale... exactly.

CAM said...

Some of my fondest memories involve my mum sitting in the hall outside our bedroom doors and reading in a loud and animated voice to all of us at once. I think that children forgive every other parenting error except not giving them books...mine both love them passionately too and I hope to one day have bookshelves everywhere exactly like in your gorgeous pictures!

Nicla said...

bellissimo post :) mi piace tanto

littlemarymixup said...

your words are melodious? i feel all the same feelings about slowing down...my body is telling me now, although inconvenient and tricky as a mom...some of our best family memories are the cozy comfort of story time, after bath and before bedtime. those memories are vivid for us all! now that our children are almost 14 and just 15,those sweet moments seem romantic for me today.
i treasure the moments and you make them come alive. happy st. patricks day! i took out my irish travel book yesterday...while watching the n.y.c. parade...i daydreamed about a family trip to ireland! i love your blog...it's my little vacation!