Pencil and Paper


Pencil and paper keep me connected to the woods. The rustle of 20 pencils feverishly writing on lined paper imitates the wind rolling dried leaves across the forest floor.

I am sure this is not an original thought. I was wondering why I keep buying books in print rather than for my iPad. I typically only read at length while traveling. I almost always pack a stack of books rather than have them loaded on the device I also carry.

While witnessing twenty 2nd graders write poetry about colors in the Rothko exhibit at the Menil Collection, it was quiet enough for me to hear the sound. I was transported to the silvery white bark and bright yellow, orange, and red of the huge sycamore leaves rustling under foot. The woods of Kentucky must always be within reach. The wood pencil in my hand, the paperback book in my purse, and every leaf that sticks to every damp surface of my car, they are home too.

My home is wherever I am. When I write, I share the peace of my hundred acre wood. When I read, I want to feel its fibers between my fingertips as I move my hand across the page, assisting my aging eyes and restless heart that skip ahead without the aiming pace of my finger. My finger responds to the  texture of the page. The same touch on a digital device would speed the pace turning pages at a time, rewinding rather than steady progress.

The pages of a book have a scent, texture, and a slow, passive response to my touch. A wooden pencil's lead rustles as it scurries across a receptive blank page. If I am successful, my words are like the leaves, a colorful celebration of the transformative process of letting go. May they enrich the soil  on which they land and roll. May their music be a sound that reminds another of home.