Friday, October 12, 2012


A room without books is like a body without a soul. —Marcus Tullius Cicero

twelve is a good number.

i'm not a superstitious person, nor do i believe in numerology, but for some reason i have always liked the number twelve. (i also like the number thirteen—i'm completely free of irksome triskaidekaphobia—it was the number i chose as my jersey number when i played field hockey in high school.) it is a good number because......well, it just is.

can't think of too many things having to do with the number twelve that make it stand out for me, but there are a few.

of course, the twelve days of christmas come to mind, and those are certainly wonderful. i like the song about the twelve days of christmas, too—twelve lords a-leaping and other very specific numbers of maids-a-milking, swans a-swimming, drummers drumming, ladies dancing and solitary partridges in pear trees, etc., etc, etc. lots of aerobic activity going on in that ditty—and lots of fun to sing horribly out of tune.

i can comfortably seat twelve people around my table. it's a bit tight—a comfortable elbow to elbow affair with twelve—but it's certainly cozy. twelve and cozy together are a satisfying combination.

eggs. i like eggs—especially in the form of vegetable omelets. eggs are mostly arranged and sold in dozens. twelve again.

how about a dozen? i could list a dozen favorites of this and a dozen favorites of that—gerbera daisies, cupcakes, peonies, lobsters, beatles songs, days of vacation, scarlet tanagers in the crabapple tree—ad nauseam.

one very special twelve is the day my last child was born. when she was little, there was this funny craze going around about "half birthdays." you were supposed to acknowledge the sixth month mark, halfway to the child's next birthday, with a happy half birthday! greeting and a teeny tiny present. (i wonder, are half birthdays religiously "celebrated" elsewhere, in other communities in the states and around the globe? i'd never heard of it when my two older children were growing up.) today, the twelfth of october, is her half birthday.

finally, there are my bookcases.

the truth is, i don't lust for clothes or jewelry or electronics or cars—i lust for books. we have twelve bookcases/shelves—built-in and free standing and one that's a ledge formed by a beam that runs along the top of a wall—in the house. we used to have thirteen but hannah took hers out of her room to free up some space. they're mostly my books (i include my favorite children's books with my books), but hannah and ed have books, too, so i politely share some of the shelves with them.

i think books on bookshelves are the heart of a home. books give a home warmth and life and tell so much about the occupants. the very book titles themselves—and the answers to the why, when, and where of the books—can yield interesting stories about the lives of the people who dwell within the house.

for me, browsing along those bookshelves (or some other spot in the house where writing can be found) for a story or poem or essay to read—and rev up my brain—completes the day. (sometimes i even discover little surprises tucked within the pages of a book, bits of paper with a poem or quote i've squirreled away.) books call to me. always have. i find pulling a solid volume out from between its mates is a satisfying act, as is sliding it back in again and selecting another.

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