Wow. I’m coming upon the realization that I haven’t spent this much time sitting at home doing nothing since I was in my late teens. My parents had what I think of as a conservation mindset. I’m not sure whether this was a result of their tendency toward introversion, exhaustion due to hard work, or a lack of wealth. Likely it was a combination of all three. In this way, I was urged to stay home as much as possible. It saved money, it saved gas, it was an opportunity to rest.
In one way, staying home was easy for me. I spent my formative years devouring piles of books. I’d sign them out from the public library in Steinbach, back when it was located at what is now the Cultural Arts Centre on Second Street. I’d also borrow books from my Grandpa Koop. He was constantly accumulating books, which I enjoyed borrowing.
My paternal grandparents lived on the other side of the farmyard. I’d walk over to their house, under the row of large old cottonwood trees, the afternoon sunlight flickering at me through the leaves. I’d come to a worn footpath and follow it through the bush to Grandma and Grandpa’s back door. I’d always walk around the side of the garage to the front door. I knew that Grandma would likely be in the kitchen or sitting at the corner nook where she could see her roses and watch the hummingbird feeder… and this picture of contentedness at home alone with one’s partner left an imprint on me. Looking through the window, she would likely see me arrive and announce, “Pete! Erin’s here.” If I was carrying a book, it would be evident that I was there to trade for one which I had not yet read. And so I would be there to consult with Grandpa. He was shy, and also possessive of his books, yet at the same time pleased I was reading them. How did I know this? I think I had asked how he felt about me borrowing his books. Likely, however, I had probably asked Grandma this question, not Grandpa. He would simply have a half smile and a twinkle in his eye.
After a visit and a cookie, I’d walk back home past the barn, petting the dog and cats, following the path into the house, and setting into my favourite chair, eyes glued to the page.
I’m not sure how long this book-borrowing season lasted, but when I see this picture of a younger me, I think, “Ah yes, this is home-Erin.”
I feel like I will have to become much more acquainted with this side of myself this winter. Re-entering the season of being at home a lot, and finding contentment therein.