Although interesting characters sometimes present themselves in that route, there seems to be a banality to the time spent changing from one vehicle to another.
But on the days when I'm late and the sky is dark, or like tonight when I want to be dropped a little closer home by a bus that takes me a wee bit nearer the door because of tornado winds and howling dogs or wailing banshees dropping to the earth, I venture into center city.
And below a pavilion near the berth, benches are fixed to the brick pavers to offer relief.
Now, I have books in my shelves that were free for the taking from many sources, but this bench has had books on several days just sitting there.
And yes, I have rescued a few of the orphaned books to give them a home in my bag, on my shelf and in my mind.
Tonight, in the windy rain, I walked to the bus and stood without concern of the bench, but noticed there was a gentleman with a heavy beard and a cap made of hemp standing over the books. Within his hands and between his fingertips, he flipped pages of a William Burroughs book. I wondered if he was the responsible party. I wondered if he was just bidding adieu to a favorite work before placing it upon the bench.
"Are there books here again?" I asked the question hoping he would hand me the book at which he was looking, tell me his mission and offer him my name.
He responded, "Yeah. I've seen stacks of books here before. Who leaves them here?"
I smiled and realized he was as clueless as I. He noticed my eyes and said unequivocally, "I'm taking this one."
I picked up the blue fabiric clad piece and flipped through it to find it was signed on the title pages although the words did not interest me. I wanted that Burroughs.
"What is this about? Who leaves the books here?" He asked as if I had some secret knowledge behind by smile, but truly I only think it's a brilliant way to get folks to keep fingers on paper in an age of digitized transitiory rubbish. Words are now strung together as almost a remnant of hurried thought with more concern about a thumbs up from the masses than an introspective analysis of one's reason.
Hemp-topped-Beard smiled again and said, "There is an independent book store around the corner. Maybe someone there leaves them?"
I nodded and shared something that happened recently in my family. My sixteen year old daughter had a baby shower to attend. She had no clue what to buy for someone expecting their first child. The mama-to-be shared with my daughter when she was a baby, her parents were poorer than they wanted to be. Money was used for necessities, not books. But, stories were a necessity. In the time she spent alone with her daughter, this very clever mother used paper and pens to draw pictures and write tales for the little one. By the time the little one had a little sister, there were volumes of stories this mama shared. And by her third baby, she had a library of books that were both purchased from the store as well as the homemade ones.
So, my daughter received an invitation with a simple request, written in rhyme: Gifts are always appreciated but instead of spending extra money on wrapping and a card, a small book would be lovely. She even suggested used book stores or thrift shops and recycling old children's books.
My daughter only took books in a little basket for the kid. Her favorite, her sister's favorite, a few old standards and a book that was jsut released this year when the little one would be born. Turns out not many at the party adhered to the request and as a result, my daughter was a superstar understanding the importance of a story for this family.
There is a story everywhere. It's a matter of listening to it. Sometimes we have to tell it. Sometimes we have to pick it up and bring it home. Sometimes we leave it behind for another.