There are some nights when I leave this world. I board a vessel destined for a universe of knowledge and intellectualism. On these nights, I no longer participate in the time-space continuum of daily living. Books become my stepping stones and I ascend a path toward cerebral bliss. I get lost between the shelves in an exotic alternate existence. I find myself, colossally, in the Glenn G. Bartle Library.
Throw out your preconceived notions about libraries. To say the Bartle Library is merely a place with books and scowling old women is to blind yourself from the ultimate, and I have no interest in that. Is the sun merely a faraway light bulb? Is the Nature Preserve just a big garden?
Recognize the potential these supreme arenas have to impact you. If you allow yourself to enter into a relationship with something as magnanimous as the Nature Preserve or the library, you will be claimed and drawn into it on a profound level.
In these late-night hours, I flee to the library, my eternal refuge, and it becomes more than a room or a building, but a mindset, an entire universe unto itself. Books are the currency and my wealth is the limit of my imagination.
In these special moments, the library exerts its force upon me, drawing me in to discover her hidden secrets. I am no longer a student but an explorer, navigating the dark seas of consciousness.
Or, if the time calls for it, my academic pursuits take on the form of reunions and rendezvous. The library allows me to engage my titanic heroes. I share a table in a secluded corner of the fourth floor with Nietzsche and Thoreau. From down the aisle Emily Dickinson pokes her head up and asks if maybe I should consider getting some sleep before tomorrow’s 8:30 a.m. class.
But Walt Whitman just showed up with a bottle of aromatic red wine and stories to tell, so the party continues.
I look around. These are my friends, whom I connect to in a way more real than any tangible interaction. They facilitate my growth and I ensure that their death is only a biological one and not one of the spirit.
I walk down the aisles, marrying each book as I slowly run my fingers across its title. I reach for one and crack open its spine. The taste and breath of the years my peers have invested in this place rises up to me.
Next time you enter the library, let it enter you. Try to tap into the spirit of the library. Immerse yourself so deeply in whatever project you brought with you that you lose track of time. These are my favorite moments.