On Opening or Not Opening a Book

We say, it wants to rain. Meaning, clouds are bundled up close to the horizon, the air sticks to skin -- everyone holds their arms a little away from their bodies as they amble down the sidewalk. The tea I'm drinking as I gaze out the window is about the best cup of tea I've had in a year.

Or maybe I'm just ready for it. The usual back-to-school shockwave that numbs me for a week or so in late August is worse this year, because I unwisely scheduled a long road trip for the last two weeks of summer. I've been going around like a snail, pulling my antennae in at the least provocation, retreating to my shell when the world gets too loud. It doesn't take much. And today has been busy, so this hour-long tea break is welcome, is a sigh in time. It's a perfect time, in fact, to browse that new book of poems, or the old book that's still on top of the stack, or the issue of Poetry magazine that just arrived, or the lovely chapbook of poems and photographs a friend made because she promised me something on Facebook.

So why don't I? What is it that keeps the hungry reader in me down, keeps it latent, like this afternoon's not-rain?

Opening a book is an invitation to an opening of oneself. It takes more than just time. I have to remember this.

Meanwhile a wind has come up and the clouds have multiplied. The sun comes out, goes back, comes out again. We say.