I went into a book coma yesterday. It happens so rarely these days, as adulting requires so much of my time that I can't slip into that altered state during the school year. But I'm on summer break, and the right book found me, and I went under.
Firekeeper's Daughter, by Angeline Boulley, was just the story I needed this week to remind me that yes, indeed, I am a reader.
Anxiety surrounding the pandemic's effects on my daily life, my work, my children, my plans bubbled just under the surface of my skin for much of the past year. I rarely acknowledged it, but could see the results plainly: inability to focus, increase in screen time and retail therapy, weight gain...and difficulty reading more than a few pages at a time. Last summer was spent helping the district prepare for more remote learning, taking long solo circular road trips to nowhere in particular, and wandering the square footage of our small house like a ghost without anyone to haunt.
This summer is different. Most of the people in my family, work, and social circles are vaccinated and still taking polite precautions. Our children are making major life transitions that prompt action on my part (i.e. digging out of the retail therapy clutter) with deadlines to meet. I'm maintaining fairly clear boundaries between work and personal time. And I can read again, chapters at a time now, the minutes flying by before I look up and notice the change in light through the windows of my living room.
And so I got sucked into that book yesterday, made space for it. I tried to take breaks to attend to my to-do list, but I felt unsettled...I needed to know what would happen next. I was in awe of the main character, of her connections with her culture, her strength. I wanted justice to be served, and a nice, neat, happy ending. The author gave me all but the tidy wrap-up, leading me to think...hope...there will be more in store for her protagonist.
I walked around in a daze the rest of the evening, still feeling the effects of the story. It is good to be a reader again.