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I am blessed to work across the street from the marvelous Tattered Cover bookstore in Denver. The Tattered (as we so fondly call it) has tiptoed in and out of my life in Colorado up until now.
Decades ago, ex-Pat took me to Denver early in our dating years. At that time, the hip, trendy place now known as LoDo was still a long stretch of abandoned warehouses that served rail freight companies once upon a time. There were no sidewalks, only weedy and cracked asphalt streets. He boosted me up onto one of the old concrete loading docks because I wanted to see what it felt like up there. Homeless people were sleeping in ragged heaps in the deserted doorways. It was very quiet. There was a dangerous feel to the place. The two holdovers from the area’s glory days were Union Station, Denver’s railroad depot, and the Tattered. Entering that magical bookstore was like being transported into a fantasy come to life. It felt old and full of treasures, with creaky wooden floors and cushy deep chairs. We didn’t stay, as Pat wasn’t a fan of bookstores, and I suspect we were in search of champagne, but our brief visit remained bright in my memory.
Even though Boulder is only 25 miles distant from Denver, it was not a place I went often, until I started working downtown. About six years ago, I tried taking Kelsea to the Tattered, and I couldn’t find it. It was as if it had vanished. I thought I knew where I was going. I even looked it up on Google Maps. But it completely eluded me, and I decided that it must have gone the way of all flesh – or of many independent bookstores – and closed. The updated Tattered Cover, locate on Colfax Avenue in a former record store, was a disappointing shadow of my memory.
In some secret space of my mind, I believe that it had hidden itself from me on that day, using a building-sized invisibility cloak. I didn’t need it then, and so it was not available to me.
A year later, I stumbled upon it one lovely blue Saturday when I was downtown, after I had turned my life upside-down. I wandered around inside, completely bewildered, because I knew that I had been here before, and I knew that, the last time I looked for it, it had been gone. But yet, here it was. And here I was, baffled, but delighted.
After a cruel turn of events, when my life again capsized, the ropes I tossed out pulled me to this job across the street, where most days, I have the pleasure playing with words, and I am privileged to call myself a writer. I still make the distinction between the writing job that pays, and my own writing, which doesn’t, but I am a writer regardless. A dream come true, even if it is not right now exactly how I would have dreamed it.
The Tattered has played a large role in my courtship with MKL, which really started from another of those lifelines I tossed out back when I was drowning two years ago. We work at opposite ends of the 16th Street Mall, and so we have lunch together nearly every day, which has allowed our relationship to bloom in a different way than if we were having only weekend dates full of playing and passion. We have had a chance to talk more than most couples do when they are dating, perhaps more than most couples who have been together for many years. Tattered, where they now serve soups and sandwiches, coffee and tea, has been one of our favorite destinations, and the staff all know us there, and think we’re adorable. When one of us shows up without the other, we usually have to explain.
This morning, I stopped in to see if I could find an impulse card for him. None of the cards felt right today, but I did. I had been feeling anxious, as I have been feeling for some days now, and being in the Tattered soothed me. I found books to add to my “Desiderata” list, along with a sense of peace and quiet delight.
I have gone there to shed tears and to find silence. I have felt heartbreak and joy within its comforting walls. I have listened to favorite authors, found friends, and reveled in the feel and scent of books.
If a place can be an anchor, the Tattered is one for me. Not an anchor in the sense that it keeps me from moving. An anchor in that it provides me with a sense of timeless security, of stability. It reflects my past and my future, breathes whispers of my parents and the places I was raised, and reminds me that there are always new words waiting to be discovered, some of them my own.
On top of my own scare today, my heart is aching for the families of Moore, Oklahoma who lost homes, loved ones, and children. This image of the children’s garde at the lovely Oklahoma City Memorial seemed fitting today. Wishing you all as much peace as you can find tonight.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Quote of the day: “What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again.” – Suzanee Collins
People who stand by me
Yea! Hot enough for the car windows to be down, and the green grass to be knee-high!
Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Quote of the day: “It was the face of spring, it was the face of summer, it was the warmness of clover breath. Pomegranate glowed in her lips, and the noon sky in her eyes.” — Ray Bradbury
My Wizard of Oz shoes
Have you ever been on a beach with sand so brilliantly white and water so passionately blue that it moved your spirit and sparked your soul?
Pomato Point, Anegada, British Virgin Islands.
Quote of the Day: “On soft Spring nights I’ll stand in the yard under the stars – Something good will come out of all things yet – And it will be golden and eternal just like that – There’s no need to say another word.” – Jack Kerouac
A lovely day
Getting the knee-high grass one-third mowed with the push mower
We had our first thunderstorm this afternoon. I love thunderstorms, complete with lightning. I was inside the office, so it didn’t have the same luscious impact as it would have had I been in the Bungalow, but nevertheless, it was cleansing and a sweet portent of summer storms to come.
Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Quote of the day: “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” — Rachel Carson
Talking to E-Bro
While this wasn’t taken here, I am increasingly confident every day that spring — nay, summer! — is here. The same blue sky, the same green grass, the same black cows, the same white sheep.
Port Enyon, Wales.
Quote of the day: “A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home.” — Herman Hesse
Driving one of the BMWs
Spring seems to have finally sprung here, and I couldn’t be more pleased! Photos to follow!
Quote of the day: “I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.” – e.e. cummings
Dinner with Melanie
The glowing green of spring
This Ford hood looks like it wants to nom everything. Or else it looks like a turquoise whale. I’m not sure which. But it amused me.
Quote of the day: “Men who had poetry in their soul come silently into the world and live quietly down the years, and yet when they are gone no moon in the sky is lucid enough to compare with the light they shed when they are among the living.” – Carlos Bulosan
Birds singing after sunset
Talking with Issy
It will be some time before I can return to Anegada, and I miss it. But I am thankful for the blessings in my life here every day, even for the rain.
Anegada, British Virgin Islands.
Quote of the Day: “He learned to read the ocean by a cupful. He also learned to regard each port of call as part of the journey and not as the destination. Every voyage begins when you do.” – E.L. Konigsburg
Snoozing on the bus
Still waiting for warmth worth basking in here in Colorado.
Anna Maria Island, Florida.
Quote of the day: “Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun, more last than star…” – e.e. cummings
My duck robe
The rain at night
My faux holstein cowboy boots
MKL’s wonderful texts