Tuesday, May 23, 2006


A curious emotion I had, this morning in the library at school. Curious because I couldn't quite place what I was feeling, or trying to feel, or attempting to remember. Curious because it seemed like the smell of old books was trying to tell me something, was leading me to some kind of remembrance. Smells take us back, somehow, and the scent of old pages, new pages, broken spines and brittle pages hinted at something...


I stood there, between the stacks, thinking of all the libraries I've known -- in St.Catharines, where I grew up; in Toronto, where I studied; in Japan, where I taught; in Cambodia, where I taught some more; in Baguio, where I learned, only recently, that you cannot check out books from the library -- you can only read them there, in the building. I stood there, trying to will that smell to lead to the memory it was attempting to unearth.

Only, nothing.

I looked around the library. It was empty, the only sounds the muted laughter of Korean students outside, in the sun. I wanted to stay, to linger, to search for something that could not be found.

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