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.