Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Scattered Pages

Someone dropped a book in front of my house.

It's a children's book.  I can't find the binding but the pages were scattered across the street and lawns for about a hundred feet.

Every time I see it, I have a gut-churning cringe.  To see a book destroyed and discarded so casually really bothers me.  I find myself wondering if it ripped apart in a game of keep-away from bullies.  Was it old and well-loved and the binding worn away over time and when someone tried to bring it to school, it fell?  Was it tossed aside deliberately?

I treat books respectfully.  Even the ones I think are complete and utter crap.  Even the ones I disagree with so vehemently that to have them in the house seems like an offence to my soul.

I sympathize with Cleopatra who is reported to have cried when the library at Alexandria burned.  I get more upset watching a book burning scene in a movie than I do watching mass destruction (with its implied loss of life). 

Perhaps it's silly and sentimental but I see books and art as a connection to the world around us.  Even something as innocuous as a children's book has its place in contributing to the world.  It seems horrifically cruel and calculating to destroy a book.  It's something that repressive regimes do. 

Knowledge is power.  Cliched, but accurate.  Isolation makes people vulnerable and knowledge builds bridges between people.  It opens up paths of understanding.

I've gathered up a fair number of pages and put them in our recycling box for a decent burial. 

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