Books, Libraries, Local Booksellers

I am the type of guy that is reading 10-12 books at a time.  A few paragraphs there, a chapter here, etc.  Since stepping into our mindfulness project the public library has been getting more attention from me.  There a few edges with this choice that I am trying to get comfortable with.

First there is issue of actually getting to the library.  Our hometown book haven is a 30 minute drive from home.  So ok, I go when I am otherwise “going to town”.  Cutting down on extraneous trips, and planning ahead to cover many purposes in one trip is a feature of a great deal of our minding where we go, how often and what for.  Then there is selecting the books – wandering isles can be fun and yield unexpected treasures.  I am still figuring out the library website and on-line catalog.  There is waiting for the volume I want to be checked in (another corollary to Murphy’s Law seems to be: the book I want is the one someone is persistently forgetting to return).  But, there again, I have developing a greater friendship with patience as another of my ambitions.  Finally, there’s the issue of books I want that our library does not have.  Interlibrary loan can work but represents another blessing in the dance with patience.  New works?  Usually means waiting a couple of years.  Yet on balance, the benefits of using the library make this generally well worthwhile.

There is saving money, always a good start.  There is becoming aware of community events, typically offered at or advertised by the library.  There is also the phenomena of meeting real people with whom to share ideas.  It’s a place where you bump into old friends and discover new ones lurking in the stacks.

There are still some books I will find justification for purchasing.  Typically they are references in the “how to” genre.  Now since, among other things, I am learning to become “the gentleman farmer” (I am not sure why this characterization appeals to me), when I find a book like  “Home Grown Pantry”,  I am likely to dog ear, underline, annotate, and highlight enough to make purchasing one seem like good manners.

Well ok, I have justified the purchase, now where to cast the required donero.  Amazon is a very convenient place to shop and prices are typically good.  However, there is a seamy underside to serpents from this particular jungle.  I have just reviewed a sobering podcast “The Amazon-ization of the Nation and its Long Term Consequences” at  By virtue of the fact that Amazon has access to enough funding that they don’t have to make a profit on what the sell they can out compete any independent bookseller.  We have seen  the demise of many community bookstores.  The town I work in lost two book stores this year.  So my favorite independent and local bookshop, “Maria’s” will get this order.  It will cost a few more bucks, I will have to wait a while longer, (another gifting of required patience), and I’ll have to spend time on the phone, or in person, actually talking to another human being that lives in my community.  Very old fashioned, I know.  It is however, satisfying in a way that “one-click” shopping is not.

Share how you care.

Stewardship of Knowledge

In recent months I find myself contemplating and appreciating those who are out there engaged in the stewardship of knowledge. It’s a beautiful thing when you see it. It is a very sad thing to think about knowledge being lost to future generations for lack of active scholars, practitioners and artisans who preserve (and possibly grow) traditional and specialized knowing and experience — about a range of things. Think about the threat of loss of native languages, and celebrate the heroes who champion and put in the long hours of dedication that success in such an area requires.  Here is a local take on the issue:

Then there are those dedicated to special wisdoms of healing.  Take the amazing insights and effectiveness of Osteopathy in the Cranial Field, where Dr. Sutherland took the profound understanding of the human body, and its connection to the Creator, and expanded the brilliance of “the old doctor” (AT Still) into a new science and clinical discipline.  In the generations of osteopathic physicians that follow we have career long dedication to and teaching of these concepts.  The love and respect of these stewards for this knowledge is borne out in love for their patients in the profound techniques.  My friend Paul. S. Miller, DO is such a guardian and steward.

There are thousands of examples of skills and knowledge in need of stewardship, practice and regional representation.  Consider folks who love and teach weaving and its related arts.  Respect and be amazed at carpenters devoted to hand tools, wildcrafting herbalists, heirloom seed savers, and people who can navigate by the stars.  Is there something out there that touches your life in a special way?  You could be that steward.

What do you care for?

Help me with my Tag Line

I am attending very sporadically to a small selection of blogs, you-tube channels or Patreon posts. One of the things other authors do that I kind of like is using a Tag-Line at the end of their post or video. I appreciate it as a signature of sorts. However, I am also thinking it should convey with consistency a central theme that resonates for me in the blog and on the forum.  I would like a tag-line that expresses my desire to commit to improving something in the real world and to encourage others to choose something for themselves.  For me, this is the concept of Stewardship.

You may try thinking of a real something or someone in your life that you take responsibility for caretaking, for stewarding. The net desired effect is that over time you can say to yourself (not necessarily attracting laurels from others) that this person, this place, this organization, this service is better for my having been there.

So, how do I concisely convey that in an inviting way?  I am considering “What’s your something to care for?”, or “Find something to care for.” Both seem a bit like confrontational challenges when I am feeling defensive. “Think stewardship.” Is that closer? –but it still resides in the head and not in action. For me stewardship is linked to compassion, so maybe “consider compassionately, live stewardship” seems to get closer, but in a way that is rather too much of a slogan.

I would like the tag-line to also convey a very personal sense of priority in the choices we make. I dunno. Maybe I should give up on the tagline and just try to finding inviting ways to express these ideas withing the unique context of each subject I tackle in the blog. What do you think?