Friday, June 25, 2010

Bookstore Treasure

{And A Whirlwind Trip to Washington, D.C.}

I'm back in the desert after a whirlwind trip to D.C. to accompany the huz on his orientation for his grant in India. We were so busy I only took a handful of pictures, but sometimes it's refreshing to experience things without squinting through a viewfinder all the time.



As we flew over the southern Mojave, over Joshua Tree and our very neighborhood, I marveled at how bleak the landscape looked from above. In the distance we could see the Salton Sea.



The darling Second Empire-style rowhouses and flourishing sidewalk gardens of D.C. could not have been a greater contrast to our parched desert. We stayed in Dupont Circle for the conference and spent one joyful, boisterous dinner with parents and sisters who came down the coast to see us desert defectors. The rest of our daylight hours were spent sweating in a humid hotel conference room where we learned how our year in India might shape up.



But I slipped out one morning to pay a visit to the marvelous rare book shop, Second Story Books, where I found a beautiful edition of poetry by Scotland's great bard, Robert Burns. I carried a tattered paperback copy of Burns many summers ago when I traveled alone around Scotland writing for a travel guide, and when P. came into my life he introduced me to an obscure Burns poem that brought me comfort during long bouts of separation. So I associate Burns with being on the road, the thrill and occasional, acceptable loneliness that comes with extended travel, and the pleasure of turning paper pages with my hands and mouthing lilting brogue with my lips while working on a late night dram of whiskey (or whisky without an "e" if we're talking about the Scottish stuff). So finding this volume was surely a good omen; no doubt it will provide entertainment and comfort to both of us as we embark on this next year of travel.

12 comments:

  1. well read. well said. glad you are home.

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  2. Welcome back, sounds like a nice absorbing trip! Ohh what a book! A treasure, by the look of it. Love the way you explained the meaning this particular poet has for both you and your husband.. nice to think of you taking this tiny old piece of Scotland on your travels Eastward.

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  3. Welcome back, dear lady!

    We want to know what the poem is. We want to know, we do. Do not blame us.

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  4. oh yes indeed! i am SWOONING over that Burns book...what a find! looks like you had a wondeful trip out east.

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  5. That book is beautiful!!! You are beautiful Lily ... sending you a hug!! XO

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  6. Sounds like a fun little getaway, except for the sweating in a hotel conference room part. And that book is very, very pretty.

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  7. Now THAT'S a copy of Burns! Such a lovely cover, and yes, I'll judge it by it's cover. I already know it's amazing inside, so having a lovely cover makes it all the more wonderful. I have found memories of reading and reciting a lot of Burns one summer in Edinburgh . . . and drinking too much whisky, of course.

    I'm getting so excited for your India adventure!!!

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  8. Curses. I am tired and my above comment is riddled with horrible typos. I know you'll forgive me. I do kind of like the found/fond typo though, as if I discovered someone else's memories . . .

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  9. How wonderful are the two of you? And what a perfect book companion for your travels.

    (Like Amanda, I too would like to know the poem. The Boy and I will be embarking on a period of separation soon. Beautiful words of comfort sound like just the thing.)

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  10. so beautiful! i'm kind of in love with those brownstones.

    xo Alison

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  11. That book gives me chills...it is so special AND you're right....a wonderful sign of good things to come with comfort at the end of every challenge. I am sure it was nice to get a bit of East Coast green vibe! Now on to the Scamp~
    Interested in your Scotland ventures-My Grandmother is from Glasgow and I want to go there...bad!

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  12. umm...darling---I LIVED IN INDIA FOR A YEAR TOO!!!
    I can't believe it. i can;'t belive ive been gone so long I missed this..I am so happy for you guys...write to me if you want to talk about anything...where will you be? I have so many questions! wow. more more more...

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