Sometimes, some years, someone finds just the right present for me for Christmas. This year, my brother and my sister in law who was also my best friend in high school hit the jack pot. They mailed me a book from their Christmas tree farm in Oregon.
SIL Flower and I have a penchant for reading nature books. More than ten years ago she found a book in her small town library, checked it out and read it, called me and said, "You've got to read this book!" My library in a small town on the other side of metropolitan Portland didn't have the book, so Flower checked out her library's copy again and loaned it to me. I read it and called her and said, "I want to own this book so I can reread it whenever I want!"
But, alas, as these stories often go, we couldn't find another copy of the book anywhere. Not even at Powell's. So Flower asked the librarian if she could buy the book from the library.
The library lady pulled up the check out history on the book and told her, "We can't sell the book because it has been checked out within the past seven years."
"But, I'm the only person who has ever checked it out, and I'm the only one who wants it!"
"No, sorry," was the answer.
Flower and I talked about the book occasionally and looked in used bookstores when and where ever we traveled. No book.
A few weeks ago, I got an email from Flower.
"You're going to love your present!" she wrote. "What's your new address?"
The package came on the 23rd. I put it intact by the other gifts, didn't even take the gifts out of the mailing envelope. I knew if I once started the opening process, I wouldn't stop and wait for Christmas morning.
9:00am December 25th: The phone rings. It's the Brother and Flower calling to wish us Merry Christmas.
"Do you like your present?"
"I haven't opened it yet. We're waiting for the Boy to wake up."
"Open it NOW!"
So I handed the phone to The Professor and he reported my reaction to them.
"She's jumping up and down, clutching the book and hugging it."
The perfect gift.
The Green Year by Barbara Webster. 1956. First edition.
The story of Barbara and her husband Ed's green year, the year they 'took off' to be home, to just BE.
How vainly men themselves amaze
To win the palm, the oak, or bays,
While all the flowers and trees do close
To weave the garlands of repose!
Annihilating all that's made
To a green thought in a green shade.