Sitting in the cafe upstairs in Prairie Lights bookstore in Iowa City, I feel comforted by the richness of old, new and book friends to hold me in adventure and delight as I travel. This afternoon, I perused bookstores (of course), a lovely restaurant (which had roasted asparagus to die for), a yarn store with its own bakery and a tiny shop full of everything from antique salt and pepper shakers to a lamp with a ceramic deer as its base, all with my new friend Laura. For dinner, I reunite with Dean, an old friend who was once my house mate and had a wonderful habit of scrubbing the whole house clean daily with delight. And in my backpack are some memoirs from Chris Offut, a favorite writer I read years ago and was reunited in my imagination and in reality with when he read at the conference yesterday.
The rain comes and go. The cold hasn’t lifted yet. I can barely remember blue sky, and I’m running on too little sleep and too far from home, but I’m happy as the loud Catie Curtis song, “My Shirt Looks Good on You,” playing on my itunes. The connections that come and go, that we step into without realizing it at the time and then find again or find anew bring their own good weather, making any place glow with its innate color and texture. For all this, I give thanks to the friends new and old, between the pages and beyond the book, helping me read this life by the light of the world.