No, not now, it isn’t. And it was not a record-breaking winter, either, in terms of cold or snowfall. But the most ordinary mild winter still leaves plenty of cracked stones behind, and as spring approaches, wind and rain conspire to keep a walker’s head down and eyes on the ground, which is the perfect way to spot Petoskey stones on the side of the road, far from the beach. Remember, at one time all of Leelanau County was underwater, so coral fossils can be found anywhere.
Some stones, albeit dry or dirty, exhibit a certain look that says, “Pick me up!” So you stop, pick it up and turn it over, and damp spots on the underside reveal what had been hidden when the stone was “face-down” in the dirt. You take it home and rinse it in clean water, and you feel happy. You have connected with ages past.
Now, quick: Why is a book cover like a stone on the ground?
My general advice to anyone contemplating book cover design is that the cover has to say, “Pick me up!” in a loud, clear voice. Then, when a browser opens the book in hand, what’s inside has to say, “Don’t put me down! Take me home!” In addition, one of the rewards of books can be connection to other worlds, far from us in time and space.
And so, because spring is on the way, on Wednesday (St. Patrick’s Eve) I got busy with general cleaning and rearranging at Dog Ears Books, my aim to have the whole place say, to anyone who comes in the door, “Slow down. Take your time. Explore. And pick up treasures to take home.”
As for my own reading, am still caught up in the essays of Camus and still falling asleep each night over The Tale of Genji, but it’s thrilling to get outdoors again, too, for longer and longer walks, as the last of the snow disappears from woods and fields. Back roads are great. Cross-country even better.