Found in a bookshelf

Last week the cable company had to come and do a thing to some cables, run some wires, all sorts of technical things that go in one of my ears and go straight out the other.

The day after they were here I went over to look at my carefully curated stack of books that sits in front of our built in bookshelf. It's full of to be read's that I intend to go through this year. But the stack looked different, bigger books were on top (the horror!) and even worse than that, some books were facing the wrong way! 

Upon further investigation, half the book stack were books I had already read or had no plans on reading.

And then I looked down and saw the cable.

Someone had taken books out of the shelf in order to rerun the new cable, and my stack of books was taken down as a casualty of fiber optic war. 

I sat and found the books that were in the original pile, and went through others that I forgot we had, adding to the ever growing TBR stack.

And then I found a book about Haiku, which was timely as the creative writing class I'm teaching at our co-op was covering haikus the following class, and isn't that always the way it works?

The book, The Essential Haiku, has made it through many years and several moves. It was one, like about half of our collection, that became ours when we moved in together but was originally Lucas's. He studied poetry in college, and I sometimes joke that his collection of books was part of the reason I fell in love with him.

I know I've written previously about our bookshelf, about his books and how they always literally pop out at me just when I need them. About how I'll think of a title or an author, consider checking it out a the library or on Amazon, wander over to our shelf, and there it is. But I can't remember which blog it was on, or if it was an Instagram post, and I'm too lazy to look through the archives to find the link.

Yesterday morning before co-op I had a chance to look through The Essential Haiku, and I found Lucas's chicken scratch in notes and underlines and stars. From a different time, lifetimes ago. The underlined sections resonated with who he is and who we are. Separate but also together.

This time of year I tend to get sappy. The anniversary of our first date was a week or so ago, and I have such fond memories of our early days together. Wandering the streets of Salem to see the ice sculptures, brunches at Red's, Netflix dvd's back before streaming was a thing. The process of becoming us was quick, we both knew early on that we had something special. But the process of being us, that's a lifetimes worth of work. And finding little bits that remind us of our authentic selves, then and now, is what makes it exciting and rewarding. My husband is a man of few words, and so to see his inner workings, even from years ago, is an honor, one that makes me love him even more than I thought I could.

We often talk about what a gift it is to watch our children grow and become the people who they're meant to be, but we don't often talk about those aspects of our partners and spouses. With parenting, if you have a co-parent you're able to discuss ad nauseam your children's developments, physically and emotionally.

But when it comes to your partner... not so much. Maybe because we're all in the trenches, and it's harder to see changes, progress, their changes often impact our lives for better or worse, and the conversations don't happen as easily. We're willing to dissect our children's lives, but not nearly as willing to dissect our relationships and our own growth. Our partner's growth may be tied up in our own, or compared to our own lack of, or maybe don't want to own up to something, or are afraid that with one persons growth comes distance, if we don't allow space and encouragement.

Maybe we're not prepared to see when and if we evolve at different rates.

But there's joy (and sometimes frustration) in watching another person evolve. To watch someone embrace themselves, and then come back and embrace each other. Not quite new, but not nearly the same as when you first met.

Our books hold a sacred spot as a reminder that we are always evolving, separately and together, and to witness that process is a privilege.


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