In the bucolic countryside of Bethany, Connecticut you will find Whitlock's Book Barn featuring rare and used books. The sign at the front door of an actual old barn reads, "Set yourself free." And it's easy to do just that when you tread across the uneven floors among the many book stacks. The planks creak like an old ship, as though you are traversing time through a sea of leather bound volumes. There are weathered maps and prints by which to navigate, but you will get lost anyway.
You might expect to find old worm holes in a setting such as this. And watermarks of all types await discovery among the pages. Some by intent, impressed upon fine laid sheaves in a book like this one. Or on a few brittle leaves water painted by endless days spent pressed in a damp old attic, or an abandoned old locker, and stained by the mists of time.
But you might not expect to find cosmic romance among the tomes, or the poetry of happenstance colliding with rhymed couplets on a page of lyrical lines. . . .
You might not dream to find a hidden valentine. . . .
(No-name Limoges teacup.)
It was my son David who chanced upon the sheaf of poems and who shared it after leafing through its pages on our recent visit to the book barn. He held it open in the autumn light at the window sill as I took a few quick photographs. His field and profession is art, so he's used to the pages of the universe opening up for him. But we left it there for someone else to find. Maybe on some happy day, late in the afternoon, in fall. . . .
Another valentine that my husband and I discovered on our recent drive through the gorgeous colors of New England is Paul McCartney's new release of old classics. You may have seen him featured recently on PBS. We played it over and over as we wound our way around the countryside. Our favorite song is a new one that McCartney himself composed called "My Valentine." The whole album is mellow and jazzy, and perfect for a quiet evening by the fire. You might like it.
Our thoughts are turned to many friends and loved ones now under threat in this beautiful part of the country. Hold tight. Our love and prayers are with you. . . .