The Book Fort

79  bar falls 29.80 0mph NNE  dew-point 63   Summer, cloudy and mild

                         Last Quarter of the Flower Moon

F- runs in the Star-Tribune daily comics section.  When it connects with me, its humor reminds me of the gold standard, Gary Larson.  It doesn’t hit that point much for me, but once in a while.

One that didn’t hit me that way, but, in Kate’s reinforcement, has begun to reveberate featured a librarian looking between a pair of stacks.  In the back, near the corner, a man sat on the floor with books arranged around him in a rectangle and he had another book in hand to add to the walls.

The librarian has a walkie-talkie and he says, “Book fort.  We have a book fort going up.”

Kate looked at it, laughed, and said, “That’s what I’m going to call your study, a book fort.”   

 I laughed, too.  If you go into my study, you would first notice a small bookshelf filled with books and other books stacked up on top of it perhaps ten books high.  These are the books I may want to read soon.  To the right is a green cupboard with four shelves and glass doors.  That one is full, too, and contains books on liberal religion and liberal political thought. 

On the wall that extends to the east from that cupboard stands another series of books cases.  These have philosophy, folk tales, folk myths and stories, aesthetics and art, and some religious books.  These are more reference volumes.  Directly across from them are a low series of bookshelves that hold my Asian collection.  It’s pretty deep in Chinese and Japanese literature, but there are volumes here on Hindu topics and Angkor Wat, too.  On top of these shelves sit my poety collection, perhaps 15 feet long.  Along the wall nearest my desk and half way along the room’s north side are travel related volumes, reference works and material on the Renaissance.  There are also books on the military, on water rights and gardening.

Directly behind my desk is a tall bookcase filled with art history books.  I use these volumes a good deal when I prepare tours.

So, book fort is an apt description.  But.  Forts are battlements, a place to hold out if the enemy strikes.  I do hide behind these books, retreating into my book fort to meditate, to study, to push away the enemies of distraction and human contact, except through printed words.  There is a hermetic quality to my life here in Andover, a quality I like, even prefer. 

Fortresses though can keep one in as well as others out.  After giving it some thought, I would not trade my book fort for a trading post or a tourist venue.  In it I have the luxury of safety and a safety which protects my contemplative life.  This is not so much retreat from as it is retreat to.  If you ever come over, you are welcome inside the moat.  I’ll lower the draw bridge for you.

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