Today, I began a chore that I've been avoiding since we first moved up to the High Mountain Lodge: organizing the library.
I started out easy: shelving the science fiction and mystery novels I've accumulated over the years. It is a daunting task, and a humbling one, as well. While I suspected it before, just today I realized beyond a shadow of a doubt what execrable taste in reading I have.
A year ago when we were just beginning to get serious about innkeeping, the real estate brokers who shepherded us through the process told us that we couldn't surround ourselves with all our books. "It intimidates people," they said.
So we decided to sequester the books. There is a room on the lower level of the lodge that has a fireplace, but no bathroom. We decided to turn it into a library, a quiet room where people could come to sit by the fire, play a quiet game of cards, and browse our frighteningly eclectic collection of books.
The plan has been hanging fire for months now; we've been too busy cleaning, doing maintenance, and generally learning how to run an inn.
At a time in our lives when it is possible to continue working until late at night or rising before the chickens to start (or continue) a project, it was refreshing to tackle a long-put-off project. And it was a surprisingly spiritually necessary chore. I hadn't realized how much I missed my books. I've been surrounded by books since I was a small child, and it seemed natural to have them around me.
The recent months at the High Mountain Lodge have been filled with necessary work: cleaning, organizing, planning, cooking. They have been months filled with delight as we welcomed people to the lodge and made new friends and realized that the gamble we took is really going to pay off.
So meeting the books was a luxury. They will all be up for our guests to read (except for my first edition of John Nichols' The Milagro Beanfield War, which I bought in a Tulsa book store on the remainder table for 99¢ and is now worth a fortune). Whenever Julie gets a cold, I read her the section about Stella Armijo slaughtering chickens and bunnies while Herbie Goldfarb, the VISTA volunteer, looks on from his shack with the skunks under the floorboards. It never fails to make her laugh and cough. She gets well a lot sooner. It would kill me if someone carried it off. So it stays safe.
Other than that, the library will soon be another reason to come to the High Mountain Lodge: literature (and trashy novels) by the yard.