There is something special about opening the door to my shop in the morning. Perhaps it's merely the morningness of it, the optimism of a new day and the opportunities it might bring. And yet there is something more, I think, the fleeting touch of something profound, or if not profound at least precious.
There is a perfection in that first moment, a sense of time unruined. There is a soft, shadowy gloom to the shop before I turn on the lights. Just the sense of a door opening out into space, into the soft gloom, and the long rows of bookcases receding back into deeper shadows. And on each shelf of each case there is a row of books, spines out. In the light that has yet to come the covers will show their colours, like neon leaves in the autumn, strutting their eye-catching graphic designs. But in the gloom there is just a shape, forms limned in various shifting greys, shadows and ghosts and mere suggestions of hidden truths.
The bookcases are dark wood, a rich colour even in the gloom. I know them well; I built them myself. Cut, nailed, stained and sealed. Real wood, organic, still a little alive. They seem expectant in the gloom, waiting, and yet always patient.
Morning light slants in the front windows, but it's pale yet, as the windows face west. The light is soft and seems to highlight the shadows more than dispel them. A soft glow hovers at the front of the shop and does not penetrate further back. My photographs hang, framed, above the shelves. Scenes from my travels, shots of buildings from odd angles, and rivers, waterfalls, trees. Maybe the shelves like these pictures, too, remembering a former life, a life of branches and leaves and digging roots. Life's a little drier now, perhaps, but they still get to hold a rich yield of fruit, though of a very papery kind.
I like that moment, standing in the just opened door, that sense of unfolding space, my gaze trailing down the aisles, the rows slipping away. The smell of wood, of paper, of dust, the smell of books. Peace... a sense of hallowed space. A personal space, a place sacred to just one person, and sacred only for a moment. For just that moment I feel a touch of something... perhaps it is something as simple as joy, or hope, or perhaps it is something more complex. Faith, perhaps, or some strange braiding of identity and geography, place becoming intertwined with self. A momentary hallowing, like hands cupped beneath cold water.
A bookshop. A door opening. A moment alone... a moment that is mine.
And what about you? What are your hallowed moments?