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Walt Whitman Once Said . . .

I read a lot as a kid (young man) as I grew so did my love of books, words, and the worlds that words build in the mind’s eye of the reader.

It wasn’t uncommon for me to be a binge reader.  I mean if I read a book by Hemingway I would read as many in a row as I could.  John Steinbeck was a favorite. I read the Grapes of Wrath, but The Red Pony was one of my favorites as was The Pearl.  I loved the worlds opened to me through books.  Some times filled with great tragedy others great love many filled with both.  I wanted the love, skip the tragedy.  I didn’t realize the linking of the two were not simple literary devices, but more a reflection of reality.

John Toland’s biographical work on Hitler and The Rising Sun were more than “good reads” they were used to feed the history bug in me.  I was interested in the world as it was just before I was.

Today, I read all the time, but books are a rare pleasure.  Technical journals and articles take my focus more than I would like.  And the world is moving much faster these days; or at least it sure feels like it.  Distant memories pass by like whiffs of smoke, lying in a field of grass in Ohio (before chiggers) and looking up at the stars.  A strand of timothy in my mouth and the smell of dew and wildflowers filling the air. Little did I realize how precious those days would become.

Unfettered thought.  No concern of the economy, world events or unemployment statistics; my thoughts were consumed with more pressing matters.  Would I finish that homemade butterfly net I had designed in my daydreaming.  A spare 1 inch dowel I had spotted in dad’s shop, a discarded pair of pantyhose with a run down the leg, and a hanger I could “appropriate” without notice to clip, bend and serve as a frame.  That makeshift net was quite the site with both legs filling with air as I chased butterflies in the early autumn fields.  I’m sure mom got a laugh as she looked out from the kitchen window.

I don’t own a kindle, or nook, as much a fan of Star Tek as I am, I hesitate to give in to the technological lifeless feel of plastic in my hand. Instead I prefer the tactile feel of leather and the sound of crisp pages turning one after another.  I like the smell of a book, new or old, there is something soothing about a book.

As for Walt Whitman, I have no idea what he once said.  I don’t think I ever read him.

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