This past weekend I drove across the mountains to spend some time with my daughter, T, on her birthday. When I left home on the coast, it was raining, sprinkling when I reached the pass. Even with the sprinkles, there was enough sunshine to bring out the colors. Bright yellow leaves against the evergreens. Pinky-red bushes climbing the mountains. Snow more than a thousand feet up.
Driving through Eastern Washington is a real treat in the fall. If it wasn’t such a long drive, I would have stopped to take pictures of the orchards blushing with red apples, the grapevines dressed for autumn, and the sparkling rivers. And overseeing it all were two solemn mountains, Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams.
On Saturday, T and I celebrated her birthday with Indian food and cupcakes. We had planned to take in the Balloon Stampede in Walla Walla early Sunday morning. Balloonists seem to prefer the calm of dawn to take to the sky.
But sometime in the middle of the night, all hope for calm disappeared as a vicious, noisy windstorm blew in, rattling the windows and bending the trees. And it just kept on blowing.
Before the sun rose, the festival website had announced that the balloon launch was cancelled. I guess hot air balloons and high winds don’t mix.
No worry. We had a backup plan. Or rather I did. I’d noticed books spilling out of T’s bookcases. Wouldn’t this be a good time to weed through them? T gave me a skeptical look. But she just couldn’t resist my enthusiasm and my mother-power.
So … while she sat on the floor in the TV room, I carried stacks of books in to her. All she had to do was divide them into piles: TBR (to be read), TBK (to be kept), GA (give away), and LMTAI (Let me think about it.)
Within a few hours, the LMTAI pile had been reduced to nothing, the TBR pile had been given its own convenient shelf, the TBK books were classified and shelved, and The GA pile had been stuffed into nine large bags and donated to the city library.
I’m an author who hopes to sell lots of books, still, collecting them doesn’t hold the same appeal for me as it used to. I remember once, about twenty years ago, staying in a bed-and-breakfast in a college town. The owner was a very literate woman, an English professor, I think, and her walls were covered with bookcases. At the time, I was impressed. Now, not so much.
I still have lots of books. But I’ve been weeding through them, giving a few bags to the library every now and then. Most of my reading lately has been on my Kindle.
I did bring three books back from my daughter’s house, one for my sister and two for me: What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton from the TBR pile and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz from the GA pile.
See also: Up, Up and Away in a Hot Air Balloon.