I was raised in a forest. Books could be found in almost every room of our little house.
Until I was twelve, our home was a white two story house surrounded by fields. The closest town, where my sister and I went to school, was nearly half an hour away. We grew up isolated, in a way, in our own special kingdom teeming with magic and wonder, two princesses of light, and our parents the gentle English major rulers.
The center piece of our house, as far as I was concerned, was a simple bookshelf. There was a row of books behind the ones that showed and books lying on top of those. I felt I would spend my life reading them all. Every night, my father would read to us before bed: a chapter from the Bible and a chapter from a fiction book. My sister and I would curl up against our mother and listen to tales of Fuzzies, Martian invasions, and water turned to wine. Many nights we begged for just one more chapter, and I remember Dad flipping pages to see how long it would be, if he could manage to read that much more. When he spoke, saying "I think we could," it was a victory, and we would snuggle closer.
When I was a little older, I would select books from the short shelves in my father's study, shelves assembled from bricks and planks of wood. I couldn't wait until I was older, when I wouldn't have to do homework or sit in school instead of reading. Now, I miss those days. Reading what I choose to read is a rarer commodity, precious. This last week, I was finally able to read two books from my own list. It's like stepping back into that house, light streaming through the windows on a summer day. I feel closer to being whole than I have in months.
There is a fulfillment in lifting another beings' thoughts and dreams from paper and ink and making it a part of yourself.