on re-reading Einstein’s Dreams

It arrives by post in the morning with the milk. She calls from her home (next to the bread box, between the coffee cup and her studies) “A letter for you!” she exclaims, attention diverted from her sheets of paper and other inky indicators that mark a teacher’s trade. I know what is inside. “I have gotten a letter,” I think “and it is a love letter!” But it is a love letter from time, or maybe the universe, for surely no mind could capture such thoughts, such feelings using paper pulp and ink.

Apparently the universe sends letters wrapped in rough brown paper that softly scratches at my skin as I start to unwrap this precious bundle of thought. The paper is folded tightly and the fibers of the paper seem to try to fold back into place, try to regrasp their long-held burden (ahh, but what a burden!) It fells heavy in my eager fingers, too heavy. The paper crinkles on last time as I pull it from my prize and it floats clumsily to the floor. I pause.
There is something sensual in the smell of a book. You know this of course, as do all the readers who salivate over salvaged tomes. Not all books have this, perhaps. Some books have been sterilized. They have fallen prey our cultural ideas of beauty, given shiny, colorful faces and put on diets that leave them bare, lacking the curves and weight of hardcovers and heavy pages that incite my passion. Once I found the bookcase of a women, dead 60 years, in the old barn in Vermont. The books, covered in dust, smelled of leather and cloth, paper and age.
The book is almost square. It couldn’t be otherwise. I run my hands over the pages, uneven and ragged. I am ten years old and standing impatiently in the air-conditioned sanctum of my father’s small home office as he reaches up to the top shelf. He reaches to this shelf, the one I cannot reach, to give me gifts, stashed away from curious eyes. This man, not yet shrunken down to life-size by time and experience; “I think you will enjoy this” he says.
Do i write my thoughts in the pages of this book? This I continue to struggle with. I want to give voice to my favorite sentences, chapters, (dates)(dreams), words. I want to say “see! Look here! Isn’t that beautiful?”
But I can’t. This is now your exploration. It cannot be for me to tell, for you will find your own beauty, your own truth. In this book there are no lies. Every dream is true. I gush in my mind about each morsel of profundity, but I know that you will find it.
I read these pages savagely, ravenously, and with the greatest tenderness. I get stuck in loops of words, pausing as I am threatened to the point of bursting. The font is an old friend, the pages refuse to flip easily, mirroring the sticky nature of time. I am Besso, I am the boy with the ball, I am the ant, the traveler, the lover trapped in time. I am the withered woman. I am the parting friends. Are not we all?
And I try to write and to grasp and to hold on to this feeling that is like wisdom of the soul. This joy. And there is nothing more. And there is nothing less.
And I marvel that the world ends in sunlight.
A coiled rope.
A yellow brush.