At the Library 8/11/22

At the Library
by LeAnn Kunz


There is nothing like sitting outdoors on the porch or the patio, reading the summer afternoon away. My patio is shady because of a huge linden tree. Although I am endlessly sweeping linden seeds off the cement, I rather enjoy the pings as they rain down on my open book, into my water glass, and always in my hair. Usually later, when I am making supper or washing dishes I will find a seed or two, little round “peas” clinging to my locks. I pull them out and start daydreaming of my recent reads. 

One of the favorite books I read this summer on the patio is The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin. This book celebrates the unlikely friendship of 17-year-old Lenni and 83-year-old Margot, both of whom are living in the terminal ward of a hospital. Now you may say this sounds grim, but actually the two embrace the time they have left, combining their years and celebrating 100 by painting in the art room. The two set the goal of creating a painting for all 100 years, depicting the memorable moments of their lives as they share their life stories and life philosophies. Father Arthur, the hospital pastor, is a funny character in this novel who is constantly challenged by Lenni’s questions about life, and God and Heaven, and what it all means. Together the three of them make some lovely observations on how to live with intention. “Your heart is beating and your eyes are seeing and your ears are hearing. You’re sitting in this room completely alive. And so you’re not dying. You’re living.”

I have also been enjoying the short essays of Michael Perry, a Wisconsin native who is a bestseller author, singer/songwriter, and humorist. Perry is someone I have read over the years and whom I am reminded of after any visit to Wisconsin. His books appear prominently in most of their bookstores. Peaceful Persistence: Brief Essays On… is a collection of essays on everyday occurrences told in delightful detail. They make you smile in recognition and ultimately bring about a feeling of gratefulness. You are sure to laugh throughout the book and then feel just plain satisfied. “A lone firefly winked and disappeared…and not [a] match for the emergent constellations above. I shut off the kitchen light and climbed the stairs in the dark, then sat on the edge of the bed to tell the little girl we loved her, that the Big Dipper was still solid in the sky, and that there would be sunshine in the morning.”

So, I am headed back to the patio, book in hand, for some more reading under the linden tree. It’s great to have a public library with materials to borrow, free access to an endless flow of words to entertain, to stimulate our imagination, to learn, and to affirm each day of our lives.