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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Adventuring Ourselves to a Frazzle

I have fallen behind in recounting our winter adventures — bookish, outdoor, and otherwise — either because the pace has picked up or we have slowed down. Or both. Either way, it’s been over a week since I posted about the curved-bill thrasher and associated thoughts, and my faraway northern Michigan readers have as yet seen nothing of our first visit to Bisbee this season, much less the past few exciting days in the big, bustling, beautiful but overstimulating city of Tucson. So I’ll begin by going back in time to a Friday in Bisbee, but please understand that you are not seeing the whole day, by any means — only the day’s most spectacular highlight.

Because we had a definite destination in mind that day: The Copper Queen Library, the oldest library in Arizona! How could we possibly have missed it on previous visits? I guess because a library is generally for residents, and we were only day-trippers. But now we were motivated to seek it out, because Cochise County has a new system whereby anyone with a card to any public library in the county can borrow books from any public library in the county! That’s not all, either. You can borrow from another town’s library by requesting books be sent to your own town’s library, and books can be returned the same way. In fact, a book I wanted was not available in either Willcox or Bisbee, but the Bisbee librarian requested it for me and had it sent to Willcox for me to pick up. That's real service, wouldn't you say?

Down the rabbit hole we went!

Where's the bookseller?
But first -- flashback! By a lucky chance, we stumbled on the new location of Meridian Books (saving ourselves a long uphill trudge), and I wish I’d taken more photographs inside the several rooms of this treasure trove, but I was too occupied with looking at books and finally carried off a couple I couldn’t leave behind, as did the Artist. The bookseller, as you see (do you see him hiding around that corner on the left?) was too shy to have his portrait snapped, but we enjoyed visiting with him, and it was amusing, to Michigan eyes, to see all the new children’s books about javelinas.

Javelina story books!

Then the library. I’ll just show you the pictures, and you can judge its beauty for yourself. Note (looking back up a couple paragraphs) that there are tables and chairs out on a gallery overlooking the street … comfortable Mission furniture in the periodical reading area … a whole room of old books … large children’s section … and more people enjoying the various spaces than I was comfortable capturing with my camera. I was especially happy to see so many children in the library. School was only a half-day, and many were playing outdoors, but quite a few were in the library, also.

The Friends of the Library group operates a small, crowded, but well-stocked bookstore downstairs, and we stopped there a while before leaving the building. Result: another couple of books each to stow away in the car. Then bowls of pho and curry at the little Vietnamese restaurant that is our usual lunch spot, and back by way of a new road, a lovely drive through the Mule Mountains. 

-- But now I find myself without sufficient energy to include three days in Tucson (we just got home!) in the same post with Bisbee, so I’ll save those adventures for another day. And you just have to imagine the mule deer we saw grazing in a ranch yard early in the morning as we drove south. Yes, it was pretty much a perfect day and deserves to stand alone here in the ongoing saga of our Arizona winter.

Bisbee additions to my Western private library

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