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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.
A shrouded city
Slides a sleek cloud of tongues
Across its dwellers.
This lovely random heart was temporarily tattooed on a brick wall on 15th Street. It was gone by the next day, but it made me smile. Happy Feast of Saint Valentine.
Quote of the day: “Age does not protect you from love, but love, to some extent, protects you from age.” – Jeanne Moreau
This is the week that the National Western Stock Show starts – parade on Thursday, and Opening Day on Saturday! So in honor of this Colorado tradition, I give to you, the contemplative longhorn.
Quote of the Day: “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.” — unknown
Sammy the Seal
Time with Kelsea
This happy little fellow was at last year’s Alpaca Show. It’s almost Stock Show time, and Kelsea and I are trying to decide if we want to go early and see the llamas and alpacas, or if we want to go later and see the hogs or goats. Or maybe we’ll just have to go twice.
Quote of the Day: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all. From now on you’ll be traveling the road between who you think you are and who you can be. The key is to allow yourself to make the journey.” – Meg Cabot
Random kisses from a mini-schnauzer on the shuttle
How dogs like to sit on top of each other in the front seat of cars
Jen, for introducing me to Anna Maria Island
This perfectly wonderful random thing was in the parking lot at Union Station, which is now a giant hole, as that classic property is being pillaged by the city. I am trusting that the City of Denver has enough integrity not to touch the interior of the building, which holds the memories of countless souls, including my grandfather, and MKL’s grandfather. Fortunately, I spent some time in the building taking pictures, which I will share with you at some point soon.
Quote of the Day: “Why are they called buildings when they’re already finished? Shouldn’t they be called builts?” – Steven Wright
Couples in love
The ridiculous number of pillows on my bed
Not having to scrape my truck windows this morning
A washing machine that works
My Razorback fleece union suit
The bloom is still on the rose in the small garden in City Park. This picture reminded me of one of my favorite fairy tales when I was a child.
Quote of the day: “In our most ordinary days we have moments of happiness, moments of comfort and enjoyment, moments of seeing something that pleased us, something that touched us, moments of contacting the tenderness of our hearts. We can take joy in that. I find that it’s essential during the day to actually note when I feel happiness or when something positive happens, and to begin to cherish those moments as precious. Gradually we can begin to cherish the preciousness of our whole life just as it
is, with its ups and downs, its failures and successes, its roughness and smoothness.” – Pema Chodron
The sound of the sea in conch shells
My Kindle application
Kelsea and I went to Pugs in the Park in City Park (Denver) today. Hundreds of pugs, a costume contest, and if I didn’t know better, I’d have thought that Amanda of The Daily Puglet was there shooting with Nikon. (But I think she’s on the right coast.) This not-so-little guy was dressed as “a pirate, but he didn’t like his hat very much.
Quote of the day: “Wrinkles should only indicate where smiles have been.” – Mark Twain
Time with Kelsea
Drives with MKL
The blue moon – one definition of which is having two full moons in one calendar month – happens tonight, and won’t happen again until July 31, 2015. While I will be somewhere tonight watching the moon, I liked the warm-up show that it provided last night on Broadway near the Gothic Theatre.
Quote of the day: “Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” ~Buddha
My super-sparkly disco earrings
A full tank of gas
Giving hope and two dollars to a homeless man this morning
Road trip with Kelsea starting this afternoon
Music nights with MKL