A Little Free Library
In this area, all around Cary, there are “greenways”, paved trails in between neighborhoods, sometimes crossing high over a freeway, sometimes with a playground on the side. They are wonderful recreational paths for hikers and bikers (or should I say bicyclers, because I know a “biker” is something else!), for dog walkers and families with children. We have joined our family several times in the past on one of the greenways. I even tried to ride my daughter-in-law’s bike once, no twice. Because you never forget how to ride a bike. Right? Wrong! I mounted with verve, but then, when I had to pass someone on the trail, I got scared, so I called out, “Be careful, I am coming up behind you, I’m passing on the left and I don’t know how to brake.” Well, I knew how to brake, but I seemed to be going so fast, that I was not sure if I could keep my balance in passing. Anyway, greenways are wonderful, shady and green.
My Sunday morning walks in Wimbledon, the neighborhood next to ours, were getting sort of routine, walking along the streets, until… I saw a woman walking on the other side of the large pond one day. Hm, I would love to walk around the lake, but how do I get there? The “lake”, as I call the largest pond, is somewhere behind the Wimbledon Clubhouse, tennis courts and swimming pool. On one side, large homes flank its shores but on the other side there must be a path. So I descended the steps to the tennis court, walked to the end of the path, past the swimming pool and then I saw a paved trail going to the left. That’s it! I’m going to see where it leads.
There were signs saying “No Entry between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.”, but that was all, and it was past 6 a.m. So I turned left and walked through wonderful greenery and tall trees: I had found my own greenway! After a while, there was the lake to my left, with the refreshing fountain, sparkling in the early morning sunlight. I could not go around the lake: the path curved to the right and continued in the same way, green, shady and lush, with here and there up on the hill the back of a house, or down on my left stone steps to another. And then I saw it: a Little Free Library! I had seen one at the airport in Cape Town, South Africa, but did not know much about it, so I looked it up.
The first Little Free Library was built in 2009 by Todd Bol in Hudson, Wisconsin. He mounted a wooden container designed to look like a one-room schoolhouse on a post on his lawn and filled it with books as a tribute to his mother, who was a book lover and school teacher. Bol shared his idea with his partner, Rick Brooks, and the idea spread rapidly, soon becoming a “global sensation”. Little Free Library officially incorporated on May 16, 2012, and the Internal Revenue Service recognized Little Free Library as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the same year. The original goal was the creation of 2,150 Little Libraries, which would surpass the number of libraries founded by Andrew Carnegie. As of November 2016, there were 50,000 registered Little Free Libraries worldwide. The Little Free Library nonprofit has been honored by the National Book Foundation, the Library of Congress, Library Journal, and others for its work promoting literacy and a love of reading. Margret Aldrich wrote The Little Free Library Book to chronicle the movement.
How interesting that I now found one along my own greenway! It was full of books and had a note on it that explained its purpose. I was delighted. Now I have a place to go with all the books after I have read them. There are quite a few books in our bookcase that have been there for ages but that I have not read yet – do you have such a collection too? I could not part with them and decided I would read them when I was retired. Really retired. I’m not in that state of mind yet, but I have just finished a book that will be my first contribution to the Wimbledon Little Free Library.
As I continued on my path, I eventually came to a street. And I discovered I was lost. Thank goodness I saw a young woman walking her dog, so I asked her the way to Coorsdale Drive. She had to think for a few minutes. Oh dear, how far from home am I? But then she told me to take a right. So I did. That right turn led me to another street, but not to the one I wanted. So I turned right again: that was a cul-de-sac. Back to the first street. I was now in the wine district: Beaujolais street, Merlot Court, Zinfandel Lane. They were all dead-end streets! Finally, after I don’t know how many right turns and U-turns I found myself at the McEnroe traffic circle. Great! That was the good news.
The bad news was that the McEnroe Traffic circle is at the very end of the neighborhood, and a long way from home. So I walked faster, ran a few minutes (good for my metabolism), walked fast again, sipped some water, walked, and realized I would never get home in time to take a shower and get to the bus which would take me to the church in time!
So when Agassi Court came in sight, I did not hesitate a minute. I crossed the street, walked to the end of the cul-de-sac, and, with nobody in sight I stepped off the pavement and onto my private trail. This time the sun was out, so I could see better where I was going. I moved more to the right, stepped along a narrow ditch with water running in it, and then noticed a piece of barbed wire sticking up and down in the dirt. I could not pull it up or move it to the side. A trap! What else could it be? Who had put it there? Was it a remnant of a fence? Had I not seen it, I could have tripped, rip open my foot and fallen flat on my face. But I screened the area better this time, thinking also of the possibility of poison oak; and next time I will be even more sure footed than this time. I continued down the slope, across the rocks and up the other slope and I was home! I did get to the church in time!
I am not allergic to poison oak by the way. At least, I don’t think so. When we first emigrated to Pasadena, California, I cut arms full of beautiful oak leaves growing by bushes in the gully next to our house and put them in a large vase next to the fireplace. The insurance agent who came to our house to discuss life insurance was aghast. “That is poison oak!” he exclaimed. I had never heard of poison oak, and thought the fall bouquet was lovely next to our pumpkin colored couch. But when I heard the story I thought I’d better not be picking oak leaves again in the fall. Why tempt fate?
It’s a wonderful life!
Until next time